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The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions--And What to Do About It

ISBN: 978-0-470-58903-8
336 pages
May 2010, Jossey-Bass
The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions--And What to Do About It (0470589035) cover image

Reveals the powerful and undermining effects of stress on good decision making-and what leaders can do about it

The ability to make sound and timely decisions is the mark of a good leader. But when leaders with otherwise strong track records suddenly begin making poor decisions-as seen in the recent corporate scandals that rocked the business world-the impact can be widespread. In The Stress Effect, leadership expert Henry L. Thompson argues that stress is often the real culprit behind this leadership failure: when leaders' stress levels become sufficiently elevated-whether in the boardroom or on the front line of a manufacturing process-their ability to effectively use their emotional intelligence and cognitive ability in tandem to make wise decisions is significantly impaired. Until now, experts have argued that increasing your emotional intelligence will help you cope with and manage stress. This book suggests that stress actually blocks access to your emotional intelligence as well as your cognitive ability, two critical components in the decision-making process. This book

  • Shows how stress adversely affects the performance of even the most savvy leaders
  • Reveals the truth about one of the prime factors behind the current failure of leadership
  • Offers a solid prescription for building a "stress resilient system" and arms leaders with best practices for managing specific stressors that take the biggest toll on decision making
  • Is written by an award-winning organizational psychologist and leadership consultant whose clients include a roster of Fortune 500 companies

A groundbreaking and insightful resource for leaders, The Stress Effect reopens the dialogue on stress, its effect on decision making, and what to do about it.

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Introduction: Good Leaders Make Good Decisions Under Stress.

1 How Leaders Make Decisions.

2 How Cognitive Intelligence Influences Decision Making.

3 Emotional Intelligence and Decision Making.

4 Stress and Decision Making.

5 How Stress Leads to Poor Decision Making.

6 Increasing Stress Management Capacity.

7 Developing Cognitive Resilience.

8 Building Stress-Resilient Emotional Intelligence.

9 The Seven Best Practices to Prevent Stress.

Conclusion.

Notes.

Acknowledgments.

About the Author.

Index.

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Henry L. Thompson, Ph.D., an award-winning organizational psychologist, leadership consultant, researcher, and author, is the founder and CEO of High Performing Systems, Inc., a leadership solutions provider. He is the creator of the Leadership Potential Equation, author of Jung's Function-Attitudes Explained and The Communication Wheel: A Resource Book, and coeditor of the Handbook for Developing Emotional and Social Intelligence (Pfeiffer, 2009).

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