No Stress Leadership

Allison Vivas

April is review month for most of the employees here at our company and it has allowed me to reflect on how so many of our team members have grown over the last year, and how I have grown, as well.  Specifically, it made me think of how we all dealt with stress in years past as opposed to the way we deal with it now.  Ten years ago as a marketing assistant for TopBucks, I remember how stressed out I felt and how that manifested in knots in my upper and lower back.  I’d go and get massages to help relieve the stress and the knots in my muscles and the massage therapists would always comment on how I must have a super stressful job. 

Now, as President of Pink Visual, I’ve gone at least a good three years without the sensation of stress and without the knots in my back.  I’m sure some would joke that it must be because I’m stressing out other people in my position instead of myself, but I know that’s not true and I’m 100% sure it’s due to the leadership training we received as a company, five years ago.

For any business that is growing in personnel and/or frustrations, I highly recommend taking the time to get leadership training.  For those of you who have already done the math, yes we had training here five years ago and my stress stopped about three years ago, so I’m sure you’re wondering ‘why did it take two years to see results?‘ Well, the answer is that it really takes two years to evolve any corporate culture, and although leadership training really focuses around some basic understandings, it takes a while to put those understandings into practice.

These basic understandings are things like differentiating between what I as an individual or us as a company have control over versus what we have influence over.  It’s amazing how much the idea of thinking that we can control other people or other companies can be stressful.  On the other hand, it’s amazing how understanding that there are things we can do to influence others without being able to control them can be freeing.

Another basic guideline from our leadership training was to self-evaluate when we run into issues with our team.  The training emphasized the importance of asking ourselves questions like “what it is that we want, what are we doing to get what we want, is what we’re doing working, what else can we do, and what else will we do? “ This has been the perfect solution to those repetitive problems where I, or our other leaders at Pink Visual, may have answered something like “Well, I keep telling him what to do and he’s not doing it.”  We’ve learned the obvious; namely, that “telling him what to do” is not working…. so why do we keep doing it?

The final thing I’ll share that I believe has influenced me to become a No Stress Leader, has been to identify that our role is to lead and develop other leaders, not to develop managers and people to manage the work of others.  So we’ve focused a lot around leading others to make the right decisions and leading others to engage with the company and leading others to know when to ask and know when they are making the right decisions.  This has freed up so much time from having to control the work of others and allowed for more creativity in our workplace.

It gives me a great sense of pride to recognize how much our team members (and me, too) have developed in terms of our leadership and our approach to conflict resolution. Now, I must admit, while these same principles can be applied in personal life, and I have tried to do so, the principles of leadership training are much harder to apply where toddlers are concerned…. :)