Middle Leader Workshops

The Role of the Stress Response in Modern Day Life

Types of Stress

Acute Stress – Demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future. Essential and exciting in small doses, but too much is exhausting. Because it is short term, acute stress doesn’t have enough time to do the extensive damage associated with long-term stress. The most common symptoms are:

Emotional distress — some combination of anger or irritabilityanxiety and depression, the three stress emotions. Muscular problems including tension headache, back pain, jaw pain and the muscular tensions that lead to pulled muscles and tendon and ligament problems. Stomach, gut and bowel problems such as heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhoea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Transient overarousal leads to elevation in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, migraine headaches, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath and chest pain.  Acute stress can crop up in anyone’s life, and it is highly treatable and manageable.


Episodic Acute Stress- Affects those with chaotic lives; Type A personalities; chronic worriers. Caused by persistent over arousal. Persistent tension headaches, migraines, hypertension, chest pain and heart disease.


Chronic Stress- Caused by unrelenting demands and pressures for seemingly interminable periods of time. Wears people down, leads to breakdowns and kills through suicide, violence, heart attack, stroke and possibly cancer.



Causes of Middle Leader Stress

Role Ambiguity

Increasing Complexity of the Role

Role Conflict

Managing Up and Down

Being Pulled in Different Directions

Piggy in the Middle

Buffer Zone

Divided Loyalties

Trying to Build Trust While Also Monitoring Performance of Colleagues

Leading Change with No Authority

Expectation to Inspire, Motivate and Support Others With No Training or Support


Cultural Dissonance

Community in Constant Transition

Impact of Stress

Resources Depleted

Need to Escape

Insufficient Personal Time

Deficiency of Sleep

Short Term Health Problems

Worry About Long Term Health

 Dealing with Underlying Causes of Stress

Changing the environment that we work in rather than dealing with the symptoms of stress

Flourishing and building resilience

Using positive psychology as a framework


Which of these do you do regularly in your leadership practice?

Shedding the Leadership Mask

Authentic Leadership

Making Oneself Vulnerable

People work is the work- ourselves is the only tool we have and everything we say and do matters.

Making Time to Connect



Praise – must be timely, authentic and specific



Improving relationships is a win win

Positive Emotions

Developing Signature Strengths

Understanding our strengths and finding new ways to use of signature strengths in our work.

Releasing happy hormones- oxytocin, serotonin.endorphins, dopamine

Savouring- luxuriating, marvelling, basking in positive experiences

Turning positive experiences into positive emotions

Gratitude – 3 Good Things Intervention


Seeking Purpose Through Values

Shared values and purpose

Choose only two of these core values. Which are most important to you? Share with your team and establish a set of team values as a preliminary to establishing shared purpose and intention.

Bonus Videos

VIA Strengths and Flourishing