Book News: June 22nd, 2010

By Henry L. Thompson.

The author 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, 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. The author shows how stress adversely affects the performance of even the most savvy leaders and he reveals the truth about one of the prime factors behind the current failure of leadership. He also 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.

Published by Jossey-Bass. ISBN: 978-0-470-58903-8. US $26.95