Advice from a successful businesswoman, executive director of the Association of Medical Centers and Doctors “League of Podiatry” Olga Borisovna Chizhevskaya.

Research over the years has shown that stress and anxiety are the most important contributors to problems at work. At the same time, if the boss falls into the trap of stress, the situation becomes threatening for the whole company. The risk of ill-conceived transformations is complemented by a danger comparable to the “domino effect”. The leader’s behavior directly affects the level of anxiety of employees.

The coronavirus crisis is a perfect example of systemic stress. How to be a strong leader, inspire and motivate people, turn to face the future and enter 2021 without any problems? Advice from a successful businesswoman, executive director of the Association of Medical Centers and Doctors “League of Podiatry” Olga Borisovna Chizhevskaya.

1. Accept the situation and see the benefits in it

I have heard more than once that obsession with success in the “fat years” leads to stagnation and a false sense of security. Conversely, as Winston Churchill said, any crisis means new opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic gives us a unique chance to rethink our business models to increase business resilience.

By and large, stress is an important, evolved response to danger. In extreme circumstances, a stress mechanism is triggered, which helps to run faster, jump higher, see better and think faster. So in our case, the corona crisis gave impetus to the development of a new direction – profile seminars in the online format.

  1. Lower the bar, but act quickly

Convinced that a “good” boss has a solution in any uncertainty? No, my opinion is that it doesn’t work that way. Therefore, for myself, I deduced a rule: not to drive yourself into the framework of the previous KPIs, but to adapt the previously drawn up long-term plans to the current market situation and revise your expectations. It is important to accept that anti-crisis measures cannot be guaranteed to be correct. At the same time, right now it is important to accelerate and act in a timely manner. Perhaps this is the only way to adapt to ever-changing realities and disruptive transformations. 

  1. Prioritize

The brain, which has to process too much information, will get tired – just as the muscles of the arms will get tired if you try to push up a record number of times. 

I follow a proper prioritization approach to tasks and requests. The fact that I am a leader does not mean that I have to decide absolutely everything myself. Ability to competently delegate is also a contribution to the fight against stress. Abnormal situations are predictably increasing. However, I managed to overcome the desire to manage all the processes on my own, realizing that from the point of view of strategic management, it is like pumping water out of a sinking ship instead of effectively plugging holes.

  1. Bypass the pitfalls of remote work

In the remote mode, which we had to switch to amid a pandemic, work by itself reorganizes into a flexible schedule format. Working hours are blurring. Letters and messages can be poured in at any time of the day or night – and now you are constantly in touch and work without interruption. First of all, it is important to ask yourself the question: Do you need me at work 24/7? Because you won’t be able to stay in this mode for a long time. The inability to relax and “take off your office suit” is stress in itself. Therefore, in our company, we decided to adhere to the usual time frames. The working regime in the home office lasts from 9 to 19. I do not exclude force majeure in the moments of preparation for our medical seminars, but they should not become the norm.

  1. How exercise can help solve business problems

Physical inactivity – a side effect of lockdown – greatly affects our ability to withstand stress. It’s no secret that sports induce hormonal euphoria and promote positive thinking. So, having lost the habitual “doping”, we can thoroughly “sour”. There is even such a thing as CNS asthenia syndrome. Previously, doctors who work with astronauts who have to spend a lot of time “locked up” on the space station announced it. And now we hear about him more and more often in the context of permanent quarantine. The main manifestation is mood swings, unmotivated irritation. This is why I emphasize that we all really need motor stimulation. In my case, these are long walks (we live outside the city) and classes on mobile home simulators. In the arsenal there are: balancing cushion, step platform, hanging loops, fitness roll. Regular exercise helps me stay focused and see the situation very clearly (not through the prism of irritation).

However, each person has their own favorite load. You’ve probably heard that marathon runners, triathletes talk about what they think well while running, flashbacks happen. Uniform physical activity puts your thoughts in order. The main thing in this matter is not to overdo it, to be in contact with your body and emotions, not to torture yourself, but to play sports for pleasure.

  1. Develop emotional intelligence

In conditions of uncertainty, special requirements are imposed on me as a business leader. They look at me as the captain who can lead the company through the storm. And here it is especially important to “find oneself” in the midst of chaos and not multiply it with the help of carelessly thrown words, overly emotional reactions. Constant development of Emotional Intelligence (EI) helps me to control myself and to act correctly. I attend trainings and read specialized literature. EI makes it easier to deal with negativity, including stress. In addition, developing emotional intelligence allows me to identify which personal beliefs are limiting me in moving forward, and to work them out.

  1. When a positive can be labeled toxic

I want to mention the situations where “flattened” boss reactions can have a negative effect on the business. It is important to notice and respond appropriately if team members mistake the leader’s poise for aloofness and coldness. Increasingly, one can hear about such a concept in management as “toxic optimism” (it was first used by specialists at the University of Illinois). It’s about when optimism clouded consciousness, a person stops seeing real problems, and sometimes even denies them. For myself, I see it this way: “Everything will be fine!” – correct installation, but only if it is supported by action. When I talk to my employees, I tell them very honestly: “We are all tired, but this is a marathon that we are running together.” I believe that at every stage of the life of the company, the leader should give his assessment of the situation as honestly as possible. I pay a lot of attention to analytics. The company’s performance assessment systems allow you to clearly see the situation in real time. Certainty always reduces the degree of anxiety, and thereby interrupts the endless stream of thoughts about the future, slows down procrastination and increases the efficiency of each employee.

I want to separately note that stress at the beginning of the pandemic and now differs in the complexity of working with it. At the beginning of the force majeure situation, we acted quickly and saved our business. Now, during the recovery phase, more fundamental questions arise. What will happen next? How does the world work now?

The fragility of the business world and all of our strategies has become particularly evident. However, in this too, I try to find advantages and opportunities. Managing stress by opening up new horizons for yourself and the company is at least very interesting! The article was prepared by the writers of the service