September 2018
Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials


2nd Annual Chamber / LDBA Christmas Social

Celebrate the Holidays with fellow business people!  Members and guests are invited to the 2nd Annual Chamber / LDBA  Christmas Social at Cottonwood on Tuesday, December 4th from from 12 pm to 2 pm.  Book a table for you, your staff and guests!   Silent Auction donations are welcome. Please RSVP by Friday, November 30th.   Read More...

Getting a Handle on Stress


Getting a Handle on Stress

Are you stressed? Probably a silly question, if you're running a business stress—good and bad— is part of the equation, part of the deal you made with yourself when you decided to become an entrepreneur. It's part of everyday life and the good stress challenges you and motivates you —without it you'd probably be bored. But the bad stress? That can kill you!

Stats Can reports that 30 per cent of people aged between 35 – 54 admit to being extremely stressed most days. We're willing to bet that percentage is higher among small business owners. And as we all know, a high percentage of illnesses are reported to be stress related.

Let's look at a few stress reducing strategies. First, it's a good idea to know where your optimal stress level lies – as mentioned earlier, a certain amount of stress challenges and motivates us. But how much can you personally handle?

Know your stressors. If you are aware of what things stress you out, you are better equipped to minimize them. What are your triggers? What makes your blood pressure rise or takes you from calm to hot in ten seconds flat? Chances are, those triggers affect you in physical ways. Your muscles get tense, you get headaches, your tolerance goes way down, you start breathing faster—all of us have different ways of responding to those triggers. Try to notice when these triggers happen so that you can make decisions around how to deal with them.

Accept it, change it or leave it. There are three responses to any stressor. You can accept the situation as it is, you can do what you can to change it, or you can walk away from it altogether. Recognize you have choices, pro-actively make a decision and you'll feel a lot better.

Learn quick methods of relaxation. Every time your body reacts physically to a stressful situation, it sends a message to your brain that you are in danger—that's your brain's fight or flight response. Too many messages like this can lead to illness, so figure out ways you can de-stress by relaxing yourself when you begin to feel those physical symptoms. Some people find getting away for fifteen minutes - walking around the block and getting some fresh air helps them relax. Others find reading or listening to music brings their blood pressure down. For others, it may be deep breathing, visualization, meditation, talking things over with a friend, shopping, journaling, or listening to positive motivational tapes. Whatever you can do in fifteen minutes or less to relax your body in stressful situations, will help your overall ability to cope.

Balance your life. All work and no play is a guaranteed recipe for stress. However, all play and no work can result in boredom—which is in itself a stressor. Ensure that in spite of your demanding schedule, you build in some playtime. Balance is the key to managing stress more effectively. It also gives you a greater perspective. If your life is rich in many areas, the stresses you feel at work will affect you less than if work is all you have.

Build strong relationships. Studies show that people who have strong relationships and support systems manage stress better than people who don't. Building positive relationships at work will help you deal with stress and conflict more effectively. Having strong personal relationships outside of work, gives you greater personal perspective, and minimizes your stress. Advice and perspective from trusted friends and family will help you to see things more clearly, and help you feel supported in whatever you may be going through.

Keep learning. Take advantage of any opportunity to learn and grow personally and professionally. Whether it's listening to motivational tapes, reading good books, taking courses, or working with a mentor. Learning inspires confidence, and confidence helps you feel more in control and able to handle the stressful things life throws at you.

Stress is inevitable, but putting a few strategies in place to deal with it as it occurs will help you to cope more effectively.

Getting a Handle on Stress


Do You Know Your Leadership Style?

Whether you realize it or not you have a leadership style that affects everything that happens in your business. Your style is based partly on your personality (whether you are people or task oriented for instance), and also how you learned, or absorbed leadership influences from people throughout your personal and business lives.

We all have a default leadership style, but if we want to be more effective in how we lead others, we also need to know how to adapt our style according to the people and the teams we work with. There are three main leadership styles.

The Autocrat

These leaders naturally make decisions on their own. They prefer an autocratic approach and feel most confident in using their own decision-making skills to determine business outcomes.


  • Confident and strong decision-making.
  • Ability to mobilize a team toward a common goal.


  • Tend to be insensitive to those they lead.
  • Don't seek input from their team.
  • Move too quickly for some team members.

Subordinates led by an Autocrat often show passive resistance. Autocrats have to continually exert pressure and direct productivity. They often have to resort to a disciplinary approach. This leadership style hampers team performance. If this is your natural style, you may want to investigate how to adapt your leadership strengths to incorporate the team players.

The Relaxer

These leaders behave directly opposite to the Autocrats. They are so team-oriented they can't bear to lead anyone, leaving decisions entirely up to the team.


  • Strong desire to encourage participation.
  • Very approachable and easy going.
  • Pleasant to work for.


  • Weak decision-making skills.
  • Too friendly—blur the line between boss and friend.
  • Inability to manage conflict.

Teams managed by a Relaxer lack confidence because they lack direction. They are less productive. If this is your natural style you might want to focus more on giving positive direction, take a little more control and motivate your team more.

The Director

These leaders have a natural ability to incorporate both a strong, directive approach, and one that empowers team members. They are able to take into consideration the input from their team, while still maintaining control and the ability to make decisions that are best for the project or company.


  • Maintain a strong presence on the team.
  • Maintain high standards for team members.
  • Empower team members to use their skills and experience to make decisions that affect their workload and productivity.
  • Validate the work of team members by making decisions based on their input.


  • Keeping the balance between being one of the team and the boss.

Team members led by an effective Director will feel empowered to direct their own work, and will also feel supported by a strong sense of direction and clarity from the leader. Team members are most productive under the leadership of a Director.

Whatever your style, you can learn to adapt it to situations and projects which you work on every day to create a synergistic and productive team. Good leadership is a gift to those you lead when you use a balance of confidence and sensitivity.

Next month, we'll look at leadership strategies which will help you lead your team through the various projects and systems that are part of running your business

Getting a Handle on Stress


Ideas for Becoming a Better Listener

I find one of the biggest challenges people have, especially with managing and working with people surround communication. When I'm coaching this comes up time and time again. And, at the heart of true communication is listening not speaking.

To fully understand other people, we need to truly listen without judgment, without jumping in with comments, without thinking what we are going to say next, and without filling in the blanks.

Are you a good listener? Here are some questions you should ask yourself.

  1. Do I avoid interrupting when others are speaking?
  2. Am I able to give the other person my full attention?
  3. Do I ask open-ended questions to ensure I understand their position?
  4. Can I listen without giving advice or trying to solve their problem?
  5. Can I restate what they have said accurately so they know I have truly listened?

If you honestly didn't answer these questions with, "usually" or, "almost always" then you may find some of these ideas helpful in becoming a better listener.

Ask yourself:

  • Why Am I Talking (WAIT)? This is a good question to ask yourself when you are in a conversation. You can't talk and listen at the same time. The acronym WAIT is worth recalling next time you are considering jumping into the conversation.
  • How would you feel in their situation? To be a better listener, it's important to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Empathy goes a long way to help you understand another person's viewpoint.

Using questions that are open-ended helps us to have a deeper conversation with greater understanding. An example of this type of question is, "What is important to you about this decision?" As you can see, these types of questions do not allow for a simple yes or no answer, they require more depth, more thoughtful responses.

How often have you found yourself in a conversation where you start thinking about what you are going to say? How you are going to respond? Listening is about truly hearing what the other person says and understanding them completely. Try to refrain from mental arguing, or forming opinions in the midst of their speaking. Once you start to form opinions or think of arguments, you are not giving them your full attention.

I hope these few tips help you truly listen and better understand people in your personal and business life.

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching


Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 598, 33 Roberts Street, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A4
Phone: 250-245-2112