Stress management is one of the most common issues I help my private and corporate clients face. Stress creeps into the workplace through a variety of ways and can affect employee morale which then can erode the bottom line.
According to the American Psychological Association, “the top sources of stress include, money (69 percent), work (65 percent), the economy (61 percent), family responsibilities (57 percent), relationships (56 percent), family health problems (52 percent) and personal health concerns (51 percent).” (AMA, 2012)
With money, work, and the state of the economy being so closely tied together, it’s no wonder that how we make our living can have such a strong impact on our overall well being and affect business initiatives. 48% of senior managers and executives and 38% of mid-level managers report being bothered by excessive pressure on the job. (Towers & Watson, 2012)
Stress can come from anywhere and wind its way into the workplace. They can be a result of demanding business objectives, poor leadership, personality conflicts, lack of constructive (or of any kind) feedback, a dismal economic environment, and so forth. Whether introduced from external sources or created within the work environment, management has to make stress management amongst its staff an integral part of its company culture.
Stress, on the short term, can give us the push we need to get things started or executed. I know my fair share of procrastination personalities that feed off of short term stress to give them the kick swift in the pants to get things done. Stress, on the long term, however affects the ability to properly manage time, resources, and people. A lack of focus and concentration to manage responsibilities and basic daily tasks as a result of long term psychological and physical stress (read burnout) diminishes productivity and ends up in waste of resources. Not only can waste happen as a result of mismanagement of resources, resentment and anger toward leadership and between colleagues will build and they can manifest in the interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
Once negative feelings build up and morale erodes and burnout begins to take its toll on the body, relationships become strained. As previously mentioned, resentment can build and loyalty dwindles amongst the team causing an erosion in communication. Communication and constructive attitudes are essential in formulating business solutions and creating an environment of trust and workplace harmony. Poor business decisions and a toxic work environment dwindles business outcomes.
It is clear that the domino effects of stress in the workplace must be kept in checked. Leadership has a role to work with its human resources staff and employees to provide workplace solutions and an environment of trust, communication, and empathy as it helps its leaders cope with the signs of stress and alleviate, if not altogether remove the causes, of stressors.
Leslie Juvin-Acker helps companies and their employees manage stress, time, and resources through executive and leadership coaching.