By Mike Cieri, MSIR, Vice President of Mardac Consultants
People react to external stimuli internally. Stress is an emotional and/or physical reaction to environmental activities and events. Some stress helps improve performance by challenging and motivating us (eustress). Many people perform best under some pressure.
When deadlines are approaching, their adrenaline flows and they rise to the occasion with top-level performance. In order to meet deadlines, managers often have to apply pressure to themselves and their employees. However, if a high level of stress continues for prolonged periods, dystress, or bad stress, results often harmful to the individual and to the organization.
The Demand-Control Model of Workplace Stress developed by R. Karasek suggests that stress is a function of both job demands and job control. Stress is highest when demands are high but individuals have little control over the situation.
The research has shown mixed results regarding the Demand-Control Model. However, on balance, most researchers agree that both demand and control are important factors in explaining stress.
In order to lessen the effects of chronic stress on the individual and organization follow these “Stress Management Techniques for Work:
- Develop a support network. Discussing problems with colleagues, not necessarily those we have conflict with, can help to release frustration.
- Practice time management. Learn how to prioritize. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. Recognize when you fall into the trap of perfectionism.
- Use assertiveness techniques. Find out when it’s right to say “no” or best to be honest.
- Practice good communication techniques. Give co-workers advance notice of deadlines. Give and encourage feedback. Also realize that some people just won’t change, no matter what we do or say.
- Help foster participative management.
- Encourage supportive and personalized work environments.
About the author:
Mike Cieri, MSIR, is Vice President of Mardac Consultants and been in the Human Resource Management field for over 20 years. During this time he has held a variety of management positions, including several years on the executive management team of a large corporation as Vice President of Human Resources and Safety, as well as Vice President of Operations.