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Management

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The Contribution of Stress to Poor Leadership among Managers
Introduction
Leadership involves the ability to influence followers. Numerous researchers have
focused on the stress at workplace. However, these studies have emphasized the stress emerging
from the employees and not leaders. In the contemporary organization, job stress among the
leadership has been on the rise. Leaders stress at work can be associated with various factors
including personal issues, financial as well as work-related factors. It is for this reason that this
paper seeks to examine the causes of stress among leaders and how stress leads to their poor
leadership in their organization (Manshor, Fontaine and Choy 622).
Causes of stress among managers
Factors intrinsic to the job
The primary cause of leadership stress emanates from job-related issues. Poor working
conditions have a significant impact on the leaders as well as the employees. Factors such as
shift work, risk, and danger, the introduction of new technology may be a cause of stress to an
individual. Moreover, physical factors such as individual surrounding, quality of air, noise,
lighting, furniture as well as personal space can be a cause of stress for the managers. A stress
leader is bound to make bad decisions hence, leading to overall failure in the organization
(Manshor, Fontaine and Choy 623).
Their role in the organization
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The main function of a leader in an organization is to provide a sense of direction to be
followed by the subordinates. However, in a situation where the individual’s roles and
responsibilities are ambiguous the chances of being stressed become high. Often, role ambiguity
occurs where the leader does not have a clear picture regarding his or her work objectives, and
the stakeholder’s expectation of them. Role conflict may also emerge where the person has to
choose between competing demands and expectations. This turbulence in the workplace can be a
stress factor and needs to be checked before it escalates beyond control (Manshor, Fontaine and
Choy 623).
Career Development
Throughout one’s working life, various issues can cause stress. An individual can be
stressed because of job insecurity, fear of redundancy and retirements. Moreover, the knowledge
that one has reached one’s career ceiling or not being promoted can be a case of stress for a
leader. According to Invacevich & Matteson (1980), people with career stress indicate high
dissatisfaction, job mobility, burnout and poor performance (Manshor, Fontaine and Choy 623).
Resources and Time
Increased competition in the business world has forced leaders to strive to meet the
organizational goals with limited resources. It can be so stressing where one has to work with
limited resources and time to achieve given expectations. Leaders are forced to push their
subordinates beyond their limits. This pressure keeps piling, and it becomes a cause of stress for
the leader. With limited resources and high expectations, it becomes so challenging to manage,
motivate and develop the workforce (Campbell, Baltes and Martin 7).
Competitive peers
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Leaders often interact with their peers. Their interaction often leads to rivalry and where
the competition becomes unhealthy, it translates to a source of stress. Stress from competitive
peers can be different from stress caused by a boss. Competition and the lack of team spirit will
translate to stress for any leader (Campbell, Baltes and Martin 9).
Negative performance report
Leaders are often looked upon by both subordinates and other stakeholders to deliver as
per the organizational goals and objectives. Individuals will always make an effort to meet the
objectives. However, direct reports with performance problems are sources of stress for a leader.
The individual leader will always feel like a failure, and this may further derail their performance
(Campbell, Baltes and Martin 10).
Unreasonable customer demands
Customers are often a source of feedback for the organization and often do not become a
source of stress for a leader until they make unreasonable demands. Unreasonable customer
demands coupled with insufficient resources pushes leaders beyond their limits. A leader is a
human being with feelings. Therefore, these factors may negatively affect their motivation and
performance at work. This can worsen where the leader receives little or no support from their
bosses as well as subordinates (Campbell, Baltes and Martin 7).
Poor leadership due to stress
Misleading
Unchecked stress for a leader often clouds judgment and capacity to provide a sense of
direction. A stress leader misleads leaving employees without clear directions to take hence the
subordinates become aimless. A workforce with not clear directions will only deliver
mechanically but without any creative directions for a common goal. Workforce productivity
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plummets where there is no effective direction in an ambiguous work environment. A stressed
leader is unable to make clear decisions, and when they do, they are biased and unreasonable,
hence frustrating the employees. If this escalates, employees become demotivate and result in
attrition in some cases (Zhu par.2).
Reduced market share
Low productivity due to unmanaged employees affects the market share for the
organization. This translates to disloyalty among the customers hence reduced market share.
Moreover, a stressed leader may ruin the company’s image, and when the public has a bad
perception or image of the company, then the organization lose its customers and may end up
being liquidated.
Gaps in strategy and execution
Poor leadership due to stressful situations often results in massive gaps between strategy
and execution. This often occurs in the process of communication between departments and the
capabilities to execute the strategies. A stressed leader is like to select people who think and act
like themselves. Therefore, such homogeneous team leads to cognitive gaps in strategy
formulation and execution. Employees will always feel appreciated when their ideas are heard.
However, a stressed leader is in no position to listen to the new ideas from their subordinates.
Moreover, when they listen to them, they are likely to over promise or under deliver, or they may
simply keep postponing on the decision. Therefore, communication gaps and execution gaps
from a stressed up leader creates poor leadership and ultimately poor results (Zhu par. 3).
Low morale and culture mediocrity
Stress in the organization leads to poor leadership among the leaders. With poor
leadership, employee’s improvement is affected where they will remain with same performance
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until an action is taken. Unchecked stressed from a leader may affect their performance which is
often emulated their subordinates. If this goes on without any effort to resolve, the problem will
trickle down the chain of commands eventually becoming a culture in the organization. It breeds
contempt and mediocrity where the cost of operations is high, and the quality is low (Zhu par.5).
Disconnected from the workforce
A stressed leader is not a good leader this is because he or she will become detached from
the employees. With low employee engagement, the leader will be pushing their subordinates
always from them creating animosity in the organization. When the workforce feels disconnected
from their leader, they often become dissatisfied. This may lead to high turnover rates with loss
of talented and high performing employees. Without motivated employees, performance is
bound to go down with increasing customer dissatisfaction and complains. If the stressed leader
does not address this issues, then there is a high risk of organizational fall (Zhu par. 5).
Emotional instability
Leaders often deal with people from diverse cultures with different beliefs and values.
Therefore, they are expected to master emotional intelligence to enable them to lead and manage
the workforce. However, a stress leader often experiences emotional instability. He or she may
register outburst which is not healthy for the subordinates. Moreover, a stress leader may
knowingly or unknowingly transfer their stress to the employees. He or she outlines conflicting
performance expectations which may become strenuous for the subordinates (Zhu par. 7).
Impulse decision making
Impulse decision making characterizes poor leadership. This refers to decisions made
without due regard to the organizational policies and procedures. Moreover, impulse decisions
making occurs where an action is taken without consultation with the relevant stakeholders or
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without sufficient data or information. Impulse decision making is a product of stress exhibited
by the affected leader. Apart from risking the entire organization, a leader who exhibits impulse
decision making will have a hard time communicating and directing the employees. This means
that when the employees realize this weakness, they will often disregard his or her
communication and directives. He or she will be disregarded and viewed skeptically (Zhu par.6).
Conclusion
In summary, stress affects everyone in different capacities. Leaders in the contemporary
organizations face stress from different factors. Research shows that the leader stress factors
include unclear responsibilities and conflict roles. Stress may also emanate from peer
competition, the demand to deliver more with less time. Moreover, leaders may become stressed
if they are faced with careers development problems. It is also important to note that
unreasonable customer demand can be a source of stress for any leader. Nonetheless, stress
among leaders results in poor leadership within the organization. Stress leaders are not able to
make clear decisions, therefore, misleading the subordinates. Stress leaders created a gap
between strategy and execution resulting in failures. Additionally, stress leaders make impulse
decisions which have far-reaching consequences on their performance and that of the
organization. It is essential to identify the sources of stress for a leader and address them before
they escalate beyond control.
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Works Cited
Campbell, Michael, et al. The Stress of Leadership. A CCL Research White Paper. North
Carolina: Center for Creative Leadership, 2007. Print .
<https://www.ccl.org/multimedia/podcast/causing-stress-demands-on-leaders/>.
Manshor, Amat Taap, Rodrigue Fontaine and Chong Siong Choy. "Occupational Stress Among
Managers: A Malaysian Survey." Journal of Managerial Psychology 18.6 (2003): 622-
628. Print .
Zhu, Pearl. The Cause and Effect of Poor Leadership. 8 May 2017. Web. 28 April 2018.
<http://futureofcio.blogspot.co.ke/2015/03/the-cause-and-effect-of-poor-
leadership.html>.

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