WHEN A TYPE-A
TAKES A BIG HIT
WHEN A TYPE-A There’s clearly a need for such a facility. High-profile suicides aside,
TAKES A BIG HIT last year’s Vistage CEO Confidence Index, a survey of almost 2,400 top
executives, found that 50 percent of executives reported feeling more
J. R. is a lot like you: Smart, driven, serious. Nothing was more stress in 2008 than they did in the previous year. The financial crisis has
important to him than success in his career. He worked hard and also caused a surge in mental-health cases, according to the American
nailed that s weet gig: CEO of a manufacturing corporation in San Psychiatric Association, and calls to the National Suicide Prevention
Diego. Even then, chronic success remained the goal. “I couldn’t Hotline went from 412,768 in 2007 to 540,041 in 2008. The phrase
let down my board or my staff,” he says. “I couldn’t let down my “suicide methods” recently hit a multiyear high on Google Trends,
family. I just couldn’t fail.” which tracks how often words or phrases have been searched on Google.
Yet that’s exactly what it felt like to the 54-year-old father of Any sudden catastrophic failure or humiliation through foreclosure or
three when he w as removed from his post several years ago . economic loss can leave people feeling desperate, profoundly depressed,
tide of anger or frustration without feeling regret. That’s past successes, and identify tasks that others can do so signals of distress, such as
rising, call a time-out and where good planning and times when you faced similar that he can focus on the things muscle tension, rapid pulse,
leave the room to regain your delegating can help. Schedule obstacles and overcame them. only he can do. sweaty palms, or irritability.
composure. It might help to regular appointments into
imagine a bird sitting on your your week—like a Wednesday Prioritize you. Respect the • Disengage by taking a walk or
Make getting enough sleep unexpected. Kahn doing a breathing exercise.
shoulder, a bird that has been tennis lesson—so that you’re • Identify the stress source:
observing things and can not always reacting to the and exercise a priority. It says efficient execs tend to
Is it a project, a deadline, a
whisper feedback into your ear. needs of others. One of Kahn’s comes down to discipline and be very sensitive to the feeling
Be aware of what’s happening, CEOs makes a game of trying planning. You stop working at of becoming overwhelmed.
a reasonable hour, period. You Like canaries in a coal mine, • Generate a solution that you
what you want to be different, to get the most work done with
they recognize when the can implement immediately. For
and what your options are to the absolute minimum of effort. schedule exercise as if it were
facilitate a shift in the process. air is getting bad, and they example, you might recognize,
Develop a healthy a critical meeting with a client,
know how to react before “I’m trying to do two and a half
Know how to say arrogance. which it is.
Great stress paralyzes them. Kahn days of work in three hours!”
no. Someone who has too CEOs believe unequivocally Delegate recommends this stress- The solution: Delay doing one
much on his plate needs to be that they can ace the job. ruthlessly. A good management ritual: item on your list and deal with it
able to say no to more tasks Nurture this belief by reviewing manager will a lways relinquish • Recognize your mind-body at another time. J .C .