Developing the Ability to Endure Leadership Stress


Leading requires endurance. You have to have the ability to continue through the pain, heartache, and frustrations to get yourself through to the other side. The side of milk and honey. The side of feeling accomplished.

But you can’t do that if you don’t have endurance.

I think I know a thing or two about endurance. Having run multiple half and full marathons along with a handful of 25Ks, I’ve had to push my body and mind to the breaking point to cross the finish line.

Just like we have to do as leaders. 

We have to push ourselves beyond what we think is possible. However, too many times, we do this with little to no preparation. We think it’s okay to hop into something new without building up our minds or bodies. Then, we feel like failures when we cannot accomplish what we set out to do.

That’s because we haven’t developed the endurance to persevere. The stress of the job, our organization, or the people we lead becomes too much to handle. 

What if there was a better way? What if we can work on ourselves so that we can run the race of leadership?

More of us would finish well; that’s what would happen.

Developing The Ability To Endure Leadership Stress

Developing the ability to endure leadership stress is similar to what athletes do to train their bodies and minds to run long distances. It’s not something we’re born with. Enduring leadership stress requires us to start slow and small and build up to tackle the significant challenges.

Start Small:

Starting small sounds weak, timid, and even cowardly. But starting small is exactly what we need to do to build our endurance. 

Training with Team World Vision to run a half or full marathon starts with small steps. We ask runners to walk, not run, for a specific amount of time before they begin to run. This is to prepare their bodies and minds to understand that they can keep going.

We have to do the same in our organizations. Jumping headlong into a stressful situation is stupid, but it’s what we’ve been taught is correct. We believe we have to be Superman and tackle all comers right away.

But you can’t.

You have to start with small challenges. Show yourself that you can do something challenging first. It could be dealing with a minor disciplinary issue of an employee. Talk to them, explain the situation to them, and help them develop their skills.

You’ll see that this stressful situation can be tackled. Then, it’s time to move on to something more difficult. 

Talk to a leadership coach:

The best athletes don’t get to their positions by themselves. No, they have a team of people surrounding them. More importantly, a coach walks them through drills, trainings, and exercises to boost their performance.

Do you have a coach in your life? Do you have someone who’s pushing you to become better?

If not, you need one. I’m here; reach out to me to join my coaching program. If I’m not your cup of tea, find someone else who can coach you. 

You need someone to challenge you and move you out of your comfort zone. Coaches do this in a safe place and give you the guidance to understand that you can tackle the stress you’re facing.

Take a break:

You can’t compete at a high level of stress all of the time. You need to step back, step away, and take a break. Your body needs time to escape all the stress you’ve put it under.

You’re no different in a leadership position. You have to be willing to step back and away for a break when you are under constant stress. These little breaks will help you recover and come back renewed and refreshed when it’s time to get back to the truly stressful situations.

You can handle the stress

By preparing yourself for stress using the three techniques above, you’ll find yourself handling stress in a much more healthy manner than before. You’ll know how to take it bit by bit, who to go to for help, and when to take a break.

Leadership will never be without stress. However, knowing how to handle stress will make your career a lot easier to handle.