Definition of stress

Stress can hit anyone at any level of the business and recent research shows that work related stress is widespread and is not confined to particular sectors, jobs or industries. HSE's formal definition of work related stress is: "The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work." Stress is not an illness – it is a state. However, if stress becomes too excessive and prolonged, mental and physical illness may develop. Well-designed, organised and managed work is generally good for us but when insufficient attention to job design, work organisation and management has taken place, it can result in Work related stress. Work related stress develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. Stress, including work related stress, can be a significant cause of illness and is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as more errors. There is a difference between pressure and stress. Pressure can be positive and a motivating factor, and is often essential in a job. It can help us achieve our goals and perform better. Stress occurs when this pressure becomes excessive. Stress is a natural reaction to too much pressure.

Balancing demands and pressures with skills and knowledge
A person experiences stress when they perceive that the demands of their work are greater than their ability to cope. Coping means balancing the demands and pressures placed on you (i.e. the job requirements) with your skills and knowledge (i.e. your capabilities). For example, if you give a member of your team a tight deadline on a project they feel they have neither the skills nor ability to do well, they may begin to feel undue pressure which could result in work related stress. Stress can also result from having too few demands, as people will become bored, feel undervalued and lack recognition. If they feel they have little or no say over the work they do or how they do it, this may cause them stress. [back to top]

Factors in stress
Stress affects people in different ways and what one person finds stressful can be normal to another. With each new situation a person will decide what the challenge is and whether they have the resources to cope. If they decide they don't have the resources, they will begin to feel stressed. How they appraise the situation will depend on various factors, including:

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their background and culture; their skills and experience; their personality; their personal circumstances; their individual characteristics; their health status; their ethnicity, gender, age or disability; and other demands both in and outside work.

As a manager you have a duty to ensure that work does not make your team ill. Understanding how to spot the signs of stress in your team, and then know what to do to reduce stress, will help you achieve this. "For me it was a new boss. I found myself crying 'cos I couldn't keep up suddenly. Stress is where you can't cope, there's too much and you don't know what to focus on any more." (Employee, London)

Causes of stress
HSE has identified six factors that can lead to work related stress if they are not managed properly. Demands: Employees indicate that they are able to cope with the demands of their jobs. Control: Employees indicate that they are able to have a say about the way they do their work. Support: Employees indicate that they receive adequate information and support from their colleagues and superiors. Relationships: Employees indicate that they are not subjected to unacceptable behaviours, e.g. bullying at work. Role: Employees indicate that they understand their role and responsibilities. Change: Employees indicate that the organisation engages them frequently when undergoing an organisational change.

It is important to understand each of the six factors and how they are related to each other, as this can influence the amount of stress an individual experiences:
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A person can reduce the impact of high demands if they have high control over their work. The impact of high demands and low control can be reduced by having high levels of support, either from colleagues or from you as a manager.

we have identified good practice guidance for each of these factors which should encourage a proactive approach to preventing and managing stress in the workplace. this may be raising the matter with a line manager. line managers or the type of work or technology used by the team can be just as stressful. Managers may need to manage staff exhibiting some of these signs differently. changes in team members.see below. action can be taken before the pressure becomes a problem. It is important that everyone looks out for changes in a person's or a group's behaviour. Stress and mental health at work Definitions Work related stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them at work. Signs and Symptoms Key message Stress can cause changes in those experiencing it. especially where there are problems like bullying and harassment. Some of the items in this list may not be signs of stress if people always behave this way. You are particularly looking for changes in the way people behave that could be linked with excessive pressures. This may make it easier to reduce and eliminate the causes. Stress can show itself in many different ways . Problems with role are probably the easier problems to solve. for example. In some cases there are clear signs that people are experiencing stress at work and if these can be identified early.   Relationships can be one of the biggest sources of stress. in many cases the changes may only be noticeable to the person subject to the stress and so it is also important to look at how you are feeling and try to identify any potential issues you may have as early as possible and take positive action to address them. talking to an occupational health professional or your own GP. . Understanding that these six factors can cause stress for employees can help employers and managers answer the questions:    Does my organisation or team have a problem with stress? If 'yes'. what do I need to do or change to reduce that stress? If 'no' what do I need to do to prevent stress becoming a problem in the future? In the Management Standards section of this website. However. Change does not have to be at an organisational level to have an impact on individuals or teams.

While mental health problems are common. for example. and are successfully treated in primary care settings like GPs rather than by specialists such as Psychiatrists Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling when you feel worried. For people with existing mental health issues. for example moving house. Common mental health problems are those that:   are most frequent and more prevalent. feel and behave. The GP will review this treatment and if there is no improvement. despair or inadequacy that last for a long time. [back to top] . The symptoms of stress and common mental health problems are similar. (NHS Direct) [back to top] Common mental health problems (CMHP) One person in four in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point in their life. loss of appetite. consider referring to a specialist. fatigue and tearfulness can be symptoms of both. most are mild. [back to top] How CMHPs and work related stress go together Work related stress and mental health often go together. (NHS Direct) Depression is when you have feelings of extreme sadness. it becomes hard to separate one from the other. Work related stress may trigger an existing mental health problem that the person may otherwise have successfully managed without letting it affect their work. Often these are a reaction to a difficult life event. work related stress may worsen their problem. or problems at work. If work related stress reaches a point where it has triggered an existing mental health problem. CMHPs tend to be short-term and are generally treated by medication from a GP. The family doctor and primary healthcare team can usually deal with them without referring the person for specialist help. bereavement. Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems.Mental health is how we think. uneasy or distressed about something that may or may not be about to happen.

g. medication. The key difference between the two is their cause and the way they are treated. it can be hard to distinguish when ‗stress‘ turns into a ‗mental health problem‘ and when existing mental health problems become exaggerated by stress at work. Evidence shows that employment can be of great benefit. divorce. Doctors usually treat common mental health problems by prescribing medication. without experiencing anxiety and depression. people can have work related stress and physical changes such as high blood pressure.g. [back to top] Mental health problems In practice. postnatal depression or a family history of the problem. you and your managers have a role in making adjustments and helping the person to manage the problem at work. However. bereavement. Usually a general practitioner (GP) will make the diagnosis and offer treatment e. e. both to the employer and to the employee. people can have CMHPs with no obvious causes. They can also have anxiety and depression without experiencing stress. The majority of people with mental health problems are treated by their GP and most are capable of continuing to work productively. Stress at work is a reaction to events or experiences at work. However. CMHPs can arise through causes outside work. For example. Many of the symptoms are similar to those that people experience when they are under considerable pressure. Information on the most common mental health problems. the key differences are in the severity and duration of the symptoms and the impact they have on someone‘s everyday life. advice on what to look out for when considering a person‘s well-being and a checklist for managers providing a summary of options you and your organisation can take to improve mental health in the workplace can be found on the Shift Line Managers‘ Web Resource [back to top] . talking therapies or a combination of both.How CMHPs and work related stress are different Common mental health problems and stress can exist independently. Organisations can manage and prevent stress by improving conditions at work.

October 31. one that requires input from the manager‘s staff (180°) and one that allows input from staff.1 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness 173 workers killed at work 111 000 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR 212 000 over-3-day absence injuries occurred (LFS) 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury Workplace injuries and ill health (excluding cancer) cost society an estimated £13. and how it can either add to the stress their staff experience or help alleviate the problem. Management behaviour is often highlighted as a major factor by those suffering from work related stress. It is difficult for managers to get feedback that allows them to assess how their staff are affected by their behaviour – a manager may be doing something that affects their staff but they are unaware of it. They are likely to see the problems causing the stress first hand.4 billion in 2010/11d9(www. its aim is to help managers reflect on their behaviour and management style. These tools include a self-assessment tool. Health and safety statistics Key annual figures 2011/12       1. ANXIETY UK is a national registered charity formed 30 years ago by a sufferer of agoraphobia for those affected by anxiety disorders. run by sufferers and exsufferers of anxiety disorders supported by a high-profile medical advisory panel. But managers also need to think about their behaviour. will be in the best position to notice changes in staff behaviour that may indicate a stress-related problem and will often be the first point of contact when an individual feels stressed. 2012) Line Manager Competency Indicator Tool Line managers play a vital role in the identification and management of stress within the organisation. The date of data recorded Wednesday. it is still a user-led organisation.source health related excutive. have designed a series of tools to allow managers to assess whether they currently have the behaviours identified as effective for preventing and reducing stress at work.Find out more Find out more about helping people with anxiety by going to the ANXIETY UK website . Training is usually given to those going into management but often they are then left to ―get on with it‖ with no checks on how the manager is coping. in association with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Investors in People. senior managers and .

Which one of these stressed out workers do you resemble? Overworked underling The profile: You're busy from the time you get to work until the time you leave. the president of the American Institute of Stress. Rosch. Finding the source of your stress is the first step to fighting it. but that's easier said than done. experts have identified specific work situations that are likely to make your blood boil. Fortunately." says Paul J. "Chronic job strain can put both your physical and emotional health at risk. but you have . MD.The 8 Types Of Work-Related Stress First Posted: 09/17/2010 9:01 am Updated: 11/17/2011 8:02 am Job stress can fray nerves. keep you up at night and contribute to health problems such as heart disease and depression.

If you require help or guidance. finding ways to get more involved in decisionmaking will help ease the stress. your boss won't give it to you. calm and courtesy. .little freedom while you're there. an occupational stress expert at the University of California at Irvine.known as "high-demand.tend to cause a great deal of psychological strain. you've made your bosses look good." says Dr. but you could gain some insight about how to improve your situation and outlook. Even if you can't make your job less demanding. and make connecting with coworkers a priority. and you're always on someone else's schedule. The solution: These types of jobs -. you don't have a trusted ally to turn swallow your resentment and maintain a facade of professionalism. Schnall. you experience what researchers call emotional labor. Try discussing your career goals with your boss. With lots of sweat (and maybe a few tears). Still. Ask your boss for advice or additional training on how to handle difficult customers without feeling demoralized. The solution: "When there's a discrepancy between your internal state and the roles you're expected to play at work. Work on communicating your needs. low-control" -. both practical and emotional. and when you need to vent. The solution: These so-called "effort-reward imbalances" are a recipe for stress. Castaway The profile: You feel like you're all alone. be as specific (and persuasive) as possible. research suggests. If you want your boss's help. Schnall. you haven't received a raise. You don't have much say over how you do your job or the types of projects you work on. and not in a good way. Doing your job without taking abuse personally will leave you feeling better about yourself. or compensation. You may not get the rewards you want right away. MD. Frustrated go-getter The profile: You work your tail off. but you feel you don't receive enough credit. especially among very driven people who are eager for approval. Too little of either could make you feel stranded on irritation island. The solution: A good support system at work includes both practical support from your bosses (the resources and help you need to do your job well) and emotional support from colleagues. Doormat The profile: You deal with demanding and verbally abusive but through it all you're expected -. says Peter L. a promotion or sufficient recognition. required -.

feelings of being overwhelmed. You feel as if you're on the verge of a breakdown. Work-related stress is a growing problem around the world that affects not only the health and well-being of employees. Symptoms of work-related stress may include depression.Y.between 9 p. the technical definition is severe exhaustion stemming from prolonged work-related stress. and conflicts with other workers or bosses.m. Burnout occurs most often in very charged. who is also a clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College. Burnout The profile: You're terminally exhausted. The solution: "Techno-stress is an important and growing issue. to the point where it becomes difficult to function. a person might feel under pressure if the demands of their job (such as hours or responsibilities) are greater than they can comfortably manage. say when you turn your electronics off and focus on clearing your head. But it can occur in just about any stressful job. N. For example. both physically and emotionally. and your work and personal life are indistinguishable. your boss can now reach you 24/7. cell phone and laptop your company so generously provided. learn how to unplug (literally). anxiety. You're constantly (if virtually) connected to the office. Companies and employers should recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue. The solution: Although the word "burnout" is used loosely." says Dr.Tech prisoner The profile: Thanks to the Blackberry. To protect yourself from mental and physical strain.. Work-related stress is the second most common compensated illness/injury in Australia. high-stakes work environments (such as ERs). Work-related stress arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person‘s capacity and capability to cope. including long hours. in Valhalla. Rosch. job insecurity. fatigue. but also the productivity of organisations. after musculoskeletal disorders. discuss it with a supervisor and explore whether you can take time off or even a leave of absent Work-related stress Summary Work-related stress has many causes. If you're experiencing burnout. Work-related stress can be caused by various events. Set aside blocks of time -. headaches and an increase in sick days or absenteeism. heavy workload. a drop in work performance. the threat of job loss or redundancy. and 8 a. Other sources of work-related stress include conflict with co-workers or .m.

the person‘s psychological makeup. In Australian. . and threats to job security. such as a reduced ability to concentrate or make decisions. another may view as challenging. Whether a person experiences work-related stress depends on the job. however. Physical symptoms include:        Fatigue Muscular tension Headaches Heart palpitations Sleeping difficulties.9 million was paid in benefits to workers who had made claims related to workplace stress during the 2004/2005 tax year. and other factors (such as personal life and general health). such as diarrhoea or constipation Dermatological disorders. constant change. What one person may perceive as stressful. According to the National Health and Safety Commission. more than $133. Psychological symptoms include:        Depression Anxiety Discouragement Irritability Pessimism Feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to cope Cognitive difficulties. work-related stress accounts for the longest stretches of absenteeism.bosses. Behavioural symptoms include:          An increase in sick days or absenteeism Aggression Diminished creativity and initiative A drop in work performance Problems with interpersonal relationships Mood swings and irritability Lower tolerance of frustration and impatience Disinterest Isolation. psychological and behavioural. Symptoms of work-related stress The signs or symptoms of work-related stress can be physical. such as potential redundancy. such as insomnia Gastrointestinal upsets.

while others will need the cooperation of others. A risk management approach will identify which ones exist in your own workplace and what causes them. including:   Think about the changes you need to make at work in order to reduce your stress levels and then take action. Self-help for the individual A person suffering from work-related stress can help themselves in a number of ways. Causes of work-related stress Some of the factors that commonly cause work-related stress include: Long hours                  Heavy workload Changes within the organisation Tight deadlines Changes to duties Job insecurity Lack of autonomy Boring work Insufficient skills for the job Over-supervision Inadequate working environment Lack of proper resources Lack of equipment Few promotional opportunities Harassment Discrimination Poor relationships with colleagues or bosses Crisis incidents.What are the main work-related stressors? All the following issues have been identified as potential stressors at workplaces. such as an armed hold-up or workplace death. . They include:          Organisation culture Bad management practices Job content and demands Physical work environment Relationships at work Change management Lack of support Role conflict Trauma. Some changes you can manage yourself. Talk over your concerns with your employer or human resources manager.

Organise to have a human resources manager. tell them about your work problems and ask for their support and suggestions. List your tasks in order of priority.        Make sure you are well organised. Devise a stress management policy in consultation with the employees. such as alcohol and tobacco. including:           Ensure a safe working environment. A company can and should take steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress. If work-related stress continues to be a problem. Don’t take out your stress on loved ones. such as first thing in the morning. won’t alleviate stress and can cause additional health problems. Drugs. You could try meditation or yoga. you may need to consider another job or a career change. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. and take appropriate action when possible. absences and staff turnover Increased productivity Greater job satisfaction Increased work engagement Reduced costs to the employer Improved employee health and community wellbeing. Take care of yourself. Seek professional counselling from a psychologist. less illness and lost time Reduced sick leave usage. Where to get help  Your doctor . Schedule the most difficult tasks of each day for times when you are fresh. Work-related stress is a management issue It is important for employers to recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue. Instead. Make sure you have enough free time to yourself every week. promotional prospects and safety. Seek advice from health professionals. Avoid excessive drinking and smoking. Cut down on the need for overtime by reorganising duties or employing extra staff. Take into account the personal lives of employees and recognise that the demands of home will sometimes clash with the demands of work. Encourage an environment where employees have more say over their duties. Seek advice from a career counsellor or psychologist. De-stigmatise work-related stress by openly recognising it as a genuine problem. if necessary. Benefits of preventing stress in the workplace         Reduced symptoms of poor mental and physical health Fewer injuries. despite your efforts. Discuss issues and grievances with employees. Consider the benefits of regular relaxation. Make sure that everyone is properly trained for their job.

job insecurity and conflicts with co-workers or bosses. but that doesn‘t mean you‘re powerless—even when you‘re stuck in a difficult situation. it‘s important to learn new and better ways of coping with the pressure. but rather about focusing on the one thing that‘s always within your control: you. In This Article:        Coping with work stress Warning signs Taking care of yourself Prioritizing and organizing Improving emotional intelligence Breaking bad habits What managers or employers can do Coping with work stress in today’s uncertain climate For workers everywhere. "Layoffs" and "budget cuts" have become bywords in the workplace. Symptoms include a drop in work performance. excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and impact your physical and emotional health. You can‘t control everything in your work environment.  Stress at Work While some workplace stress is normal. Since job and workplace stress increase in times of economic crisis. Finding ways to manage workplace stress isn‘t about making huge changes or rethinking career ambitions. heavy workload. the troubled economy may feel like an emotional roller coaster. and higher levels of stress. uncertainty. and the result is increased fear. anxiety and sleeping difficulties. . 1800 136 089 Things to remember     Some of the many causes of work-related stress include long hours. It is important for employers to recognise work-related stress as a significant health and safety issue. A company can and should take steps to ensure that employees are not subjected to unnecessary stress.    Psychologist Your manager Human resources manager at your workplace WorkCover Advisory Service Tel. And your ability to deal with it can mean the difference between success or failure. . depression.

Learning better communication skills to ease and improve your relationships with management and coworkers. When your own needs are taken care of. you‘re stronger and more resilient to stress. the more you'll positively affect those around you. you lose confidence and may become irritable or withdrawn. These include:    Taking responsibility for improving your physical and emotional well-being. chronic or intense stress can also lead to physical and emotional health problems. and stress has an impact on the quality of your interactions with others. manage your personal life. The better you feel. irritable. or adversely impacts your health. You can learn how to manage job stress There are a variety of steps you can take to reduce both your overall stress levels and the stress you find on the job and in the workplace. Signs and symptoms of excessive job and workplace stress  Feeling anxious. they can lead to bigger problems. and make the work seem less rewarding. and the less other people's stress will negatively affect you. If you ignore the warning signs of work stress.Your emotions are contagious. or depressed  Muscle tension or headaches  Apathy. loss of interest in work  Stomach problems  Problems sleeping  Social withdrawal  Fatigue  Loss of sex drive  Trouble concentrating  Using alcohol or drugs to cope Common causes of excessive workplace stress     Fear of being laid off More overtime due to staff cutbacks Pressure to perform to meet rising expectations but with no increase in job satisfaction Pressure to work at optimum levels – all the time! Tip 2: Reduce job stress by taking care of yourself When stress at work interferes with your ability to perform in your job. the better equipped you‘ll be to manage work stress without becoming overwhelmed. Start by paying attention to your physical and emotional health. Avoiding pitfalls by identifying knee jerk habits and negative attitudes that add to the stress you experience at work. This can make you less productive and less effective in your job. Tip 1: Recognize warning signs of excessive stress at work When you feel overwhelmed at work. Beyond interfering with job performance and satisfaction. . The better you are at managing your own stress. it‘s time to take action.

For maximum stress relief. but a lack of sleep can leave you vulnerable to even more stress. If it‘s easier to fit into your schedule. it's much easier to keep your emotional balance. Even small things can lift your mood. Take things one step at a time. stay focused. Similarly. you can help your body maintain an even level of blood sugar. Here are some suggestions for reducing job stress by prioritizing and organizing your responsibilities. and make you feel like you‘re back in the driver‘s seat. Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid nicotine Alcohol temporarily reduces anxiety and worry. managers.Taking care of yourself doesn‘t require a total lifestyle overhaul. Aerobic exercise—activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat—is a hugely effective way to lift your mood. and relax both the mind and body. Try to improve the quality of your sleep by keeping a sleep schedule and aiming for 8 hours a night. Get moving Regular exercise is a powerful stress reliever—even though it may be the last thing you feel like doing. sharpen focus. keep your energy up. Get enough sleep Not only can stress and worry can cause insomnia. increase energy. not lower. and avoid mood swings. but too much can cause anxiety as it wears off. By eating small but frequent meals. both at home and at work. Your newfound ability to maintain a sense of self-control in stressful situations will often be well-received by coworkers. there are simple steps you can take to regain control over yourself and the situation. Drinking to relieve job stress may also eventually lead to alcohol abuse and dependence. try to get at least 30 minutes of heart-pounding activity on most days. levels of anxiety. . break up the activity into two or three shorter segments. increase your energy. you‘ll soon notice a reduction in your stress levels. smoking when you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed may seem calming. Healthy eating can help you get through stressful work days. while eating too much can make you lethargic. but nicotine is a powerful stimulant – leading to higher. a key factor in coping with job and workplace stress. Make food choices that keep you going Low blood sugar can make you feel anxious and irritable. which can lead to better relationships at work. Tip 3: Reduce job stress by prioritizing and organizing When job and workplace stress threatens to overwhelm you. and as you make more positive lifestyle choices. and subordinates alike. When you're well-rested.

Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day to take a walk or sit back and clear your mind. When it comes to satisfaction and success at work. Emotional intelligence is about communicating with . video: Quick Stress Relief Even if you‘re in a job where the environment has grown increasingly stressful. When you ask someone to contribute differently to a task. or change their behavior at work. If other people can take care of the task. Even 10-15 minutes can make the difference between frantically rushing to your desk and having time to ease into your day. be willing to do the same. distinguish between the "shoulds" and the "musts. Analyze your schedule. The rest of your day will be more pleasant as a result. responsibilities. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Try to leave earlier in the morning. Task management tips for reducing job stress     Prioritize tasks. Delegate responsibility. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Do the high-priority items first. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. you can retain a large measure of self-control and self-confidence by understanding and practicing emotional intelligence. Tip 4: Reduce job stress by improving emotional intelligence Learn to Recognize Hidden Stress Watch 4-min. emotional intelligence matters just as much as intellectual ability. make a step-by-step plan. If you've got too much on your plate. Don’t over-commit yourself. Don’t add to your stress levels by running late. productive. Break projects into small steps. If a large project seems overwhelming. Stepping away from work to briefly relax and recharge will help you be more. If you have something particularly unpleasant to do." Drop tasks that aren't truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely. Try to find a balance between work and family life. revise a deadline. You’ll be letting go of unnecessary stress in the process. not less. Be willing to compromise. why not let them? Let go of the desire to control or oversee every little step. Sometimes. you’ll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned. Plan regular breaks. Also try to get away from your desk or work station for lunch. get it over with early. if you can both bend a little. rather than taking on everything at once.Time management tips for reducing job stress     Create a balanced schedule. Make a list of tasks you have to do. and tackle them in order of importance. we underestimate how long things will take. social activities and solitary pursuits. Focus on one manageable step at a time. daily responsibilities and downtime. All too often. Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and use your emotions in positive and constructive ways. and daily tasks.

Relationship management – The ability to inspire. The best way to reduce stress quickly is through the senses: through sight. But each person responds differently to sensory input. stay focused in the present by disregarding old hurts and resentments. Emotional intelligence in the workplace: Emotional intelligence in the workplace has four major components:     Self-awareness – The ability to recognize your emotions and their impact while using gut feelings to guide your decisions. influence. so you need to find things that are soothing to you. Stay connected to your internal emotional experience so you can appropriately manage your own emotions. and stress. and react to other's emotions and feel comfortable socially.      Realize when you’re stressed. and hear both the words and the nonverbal cues being used. so pay attention to your feelings and factor them into your decision making at work. smell. When handling emotionally-charged situations. repair wounded feelings.others in ways that draw people to you. In many cases. Develop the capacity to meet challenges with humor. Self-management – The ability to control your emotions and behavior and adapt to changing circumstances. or to communicate effectively with others. posture. even if you still disagree. constructive ways can strengthen trust between people and relieve workplace stress and tension. and desire for connection–or they can generate confusion. The five key skills of emotional intelligence There are five key skills that you need to master in order to raise your emotional intelligence and manage stress at work. overcome differences. . tone of voice. If a conflict can’t be resolved. taste. trust. Resolve conflict positively. Resolving conflict in healthy. and connect to others and manage conflict. Social awareness – The ability to sense. what we say is less important than how we say it or the other nonverbal signals we send out. If you ignore your emotions you won’t be able to fully understand your own motivations and needs. choose to end the argument. facial expression. if the laugh is at someone else’s expense. gesture and touch. sound. You also need to be able to accurately read and respond to the nonverbal cues that other people send you at work. and touch. such as eye contact. Your moment-to-moment emotions influence your thoughts and actions. understand. Your nonverbal messages can either produce a sense of interest. recognize your particular stress response. But. There is no better stress buster than a hearty laugh and nothing reduces stress quicker in the workplace than mutually shared humor. connect with your emotions. and defuse tension and stress. Recognize and effectively use nonverbal cues and body language. you may end up with more rather than less stress. distrust. and become familiar with sensual cues that can rapidly calm and energize you.

humor is a great way to relieve stress in the workplace. .Tip 5: Reduce job stress by breaking bad habits As you learn to manage your job stress and improve your work relationships. Talk it over with someone. Aim to do your best. Clean up your act. situation. no one can ask for more than that. Talking over a problem with someone who is both supportive and empathetic can be a great way to let off steam and relieve stress. set your clocks and watches fast and give yourself extra time. find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or funny story. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself or try to do too much. Eliminate self-defeating behaviors Many of us make job stress worse with negative thoughts and behavior. or spend a few minutes meditating in the break room. Connect with others at work. Flip your negative thinking. try to take a quick break and move away from the stressful situation. You will be able to break habits that add to your stress at work – and you‘ll even be able to change negative ways of thinking about things that only add to your stress. just knowing where everything is saves time and cuts stress. Remember to listen to them and offer support when they are in need as well. When used appropriately. simply sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust can help reduce stress. even if no one else does. focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems. Physical movement or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly reduce stress. If you see the downside of every situation and interaction.     Resist perfectionism. Rather than stressing out over them. file and throw away the clutter. Try to think positively about your work. If you can turn around these self-defeating habits. No project. Make to-do lists and cross off items as you accomplish them. When stress is mounting at work. Look for humor in the situation. so trying to attain perfection on everything will simply add unnecessary stress to your day. Plan your day and stick to the schedule — you’ll feel less overwhelmed. Developing friendships with some of your co-workers can help buffer you from the negative effects of stress. you‘ll have more control over your ability to think clearly and act appropriately. and pat yourself on the back about small accomplishments. Many things at work are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people. you’re setting yourself up to fall short. Take a stroll outside the workplace if possible. Five Ways to Dispel Stress     Take time away. When you or those around you start taking things too seriously. If your desk is a mess. Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. If you’re always running late. or decision is ever perfect. In some situations. avoid negative-thinking co-workers. you’ll find yourself drained of energy and motivation. you‘ll find employer-imposed stress easier to handle.

Provide opportunities for career development. Consult employees about scheduling and work rules. both verbally and officially. Cultivate a friendly social climate    Provide opportunities for social interaction among employees. Managers can act as positive role models. Clearly define employees’ roles and responsibilities. there are a number of organizational changes that managers and employers can make to reduce workplace stress. not mean-spirited or petty. Make management actions consistent with organizational values . Be sure the workload is suitable to employees’ abilities and resources. Make communication friendly and efficient. Additionally. Promote an “entrepreneurial” work climate that gives employees more control over their work. especially in times of high stress. through schemes such as Employee of the Month. Praise good work performance. Consult your employees         Give workers opportunities to participate in decisions that affect their jobs. If a respected manager can remain calm in stressful work situations. Offer rewards and incentives. These include: Improve communication    Share information with employees to reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures. by following the tips outlined in this article. avoid unrealistic deadlines. Show that individual workers are valued. Establish a zero-tolerance policy for harassment. it is much easier for his or her employees to also remain calm.Tip 6: Learn how managers or employers can reduce job stress It's in a manager's best interest to keep stress levels in the workplace to a minimum.

1 . You can then use the instructions at the end of each table to calculate your score on the behavioural area covered by that You are asked to consider a range of specific manager behaviours and put a tick in the column that most closely represents your level of agreement with each (NB the term ‘team members’ is used to refer to people who report directly to you/who you manage.Stress management competency indicator tool How effective are you at preventing and reducing stress in your staff? Use the following questionnaire to assess your behaviour The ‘Stress management competency indicator tool’ in this document is designed to allow you to assess whether the behaviours identified as effective for preventing and reducing stress at work are part of your management repertoire or not.) The overall assessment process on page 6 allows you to use the scores from the questionnaire to assess your effectiveness in preventing and reducing stress in your page 8 provides a summary of the competencies required to prevent and reduce stress at work. or whether you are Reasonable or Effective in each through your management behaviour.htm. It allows you to identify whether any of the areas are Development Needs for you. The next four pages look in turn at four behavioural areas identified as being important for managers to prevent and reduce stress in their staff. please refer to the full research report available for download at: www. are provided on page 7. Finally. To read more about how the ‘Management competencies for preventing and reducing stress at work’ were identified. The aim is to help you to reflect upon your own behaviour and management style. please refer to the guidance leaflet available for download at: www.cipd. Some tips and ideas on how you can use your assessment to improve your effectiveness in preventing and reducing stress at work. For more information on the framework of ‘Management competencies for preventing and reducing stress at work’ and the key messages for managers. and how the stress management competency indicator tool was developed.

/85) x 100 = multiply by 100 2 .AREA 1 RESPECTFUL AND RESPONSIBLE: MANAGING EMOTIONS AND HAVING INTEGRITY Behaviour/Competency Strongly Disagree Slightly Agree Strongly Disagree Agree Agree Integrity I am a good role model I treat my team members with respect I am honest I do what I say I will do I never speak about team members behind their backs Managing Emotions I act calmly in pressured situations I take a consistent approach to managing My moods are predictable I don’t pass on my stress to my team I approach deadlines calmly I welcome suggestions for improvements from my team Considerate Approach I allow my team to plan their workloads The deadlines I create are realistic I give more positive than negative feedback I deal with problems myself rather than relying on others I allow my team to approach their work in their own way I show a consideration for my team’s worklife balance Note down the total number of ticks in each column Now multiply each column total by the x 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 number indicated to calculate your = = = = = column score Add the column scores together and note the total score (maximum score is 85) Now divide your total score by 85 and (……….

/110) x 100 = multiply by 100 3 .AREA 2MANAGING AND COMMUNICATING EXISTING AND FUTURE WORK Behaviour/Competency Strongly Disagree Slightly Agree Strongly Disagree Agree Agree Proactive Work Management I clearly communicate job objectives to my team I develop action plans I monitor my team’s workload on an ongoing basis I encourage my team to review how they organise their work When necessary. I stop additional work being taken on by my team I work proactively I see projects/tasks through to delivery I review processes to see if work can be improved I prioritise future workloads Problem Solving I deal rationally with problems I follow up problems on behalf of my team I deal with problems as soon as they arise I am decisive when decision making Participative/Empowering I give employees the right level of job responsibility I correctly judge when to consult the team and when to make a decision I keep my team informed of what is happening in the organisation I act as a mentor to my team I delegate work equally I help team members to develop in their role I encourage participation from the whole team I provide regular team meetings I give the right level of direction to my team members Note down the total number of ticks in each column Now multiply each column total by the x 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 number indicated to calculate your = = = = = column score Add the column scores together and note the total score (maximum score is 110) Now divide your total score by 110 and (……….

/75) x 100 = multiply by 100 4 .AREA 3MANAGING THE INDIVIDUAL WITHIN THE TEAM Behaviour/Competency Strongly Disagree Slightly Agree Strongly Disagree Agree Agree Personally Accessible I prefer to speak to my team personally than use email I provide regular opportunities for my team to speak one to one I return my team’s calls/emails promptly I am available to talk to when needed Sociable I bring in treats for my team I socialise with the team I am willing to have a laugh at work Empathetic Engagement I encourage individuals’ input in discussions I listen when a team member asks for help I make an effort to find out what motivates my team members at work I try to see things from my team members’ point of view I take an interest in my team’s life outside work I regularly ask team members ‘How are you?’ I treat all team members with equal importance I check everyone is OK rather than just assuming Note down the total number of ticks in each column Now multiply each column total by the x 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 number indicated to calculate your = = = = = column score Add the column scores together and note the total score (maximum score is 75) Now divide your total score by 75 and (……….

gov.pdf) if the need to manage a difficult situation arises. However. If you haven’t experienced situations such as these. please do remember to refer back to this section and to the ‘Management competencies for preventing and reducing stress’ framework (see www./60) x 100 = multiply by 100 5 .AREA 4REASONING/MANAGING DIFFICULT SITUATIONS The final set of behaviours/competencies refer to how you manage difficult situations in your team such as bullying or employee conflicts. Behaviour/Competency Strongly Disagree Slightly Agree Strongly Disagree Agree Agree Managing Conflict I act as a mediator in conflict situations I deal with squabbles in the team before they become arguments I deal objectively with employee conflicts I deal with conflicts head on I try and resolve issues rather than act to keep the peace Use of Organisational Resources I seek advice from other managers when necessary I use HR as a resource to help deal with problems I seek help from occupational health when necessary Taking responsibility for resolving issues I follow up team conflicts after resolution I support employees through incidents of abuse I make it clear I will take ultimate responsibility if things go wrong I address bullying Note down the total number of ticks in each column Now multiply each column total by the x 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 5 number indicated to calculate your = = = = = column score Add the column scores together and note the total score (maximum score is 60) Now divide your total score by 60 and (……….hse. it may not be useful for you to complete this

Competency Percentage Effectiveness Respectful and responsible: Managing emotions and having integrity Managing and communicating existing and future work Managing the individual within the team Reasoning/Managing difficult situations 6 . Please refer to back to the questionnaire to explore which of the behaviours you could consider using more often in the future in order to be more effective at preventing and reducing stress in your team. Your ‘Stress management competence’ profile: Fill in each of the right hand columns. In the effectiveness column. use the following guidelines: 75% or below = Development Need: This is an area in which you would benefit from some development. In order to interpret what these scores mean.OVERALL ASSESSMENT You have now calculated a percentage score for each of the four behavioural areas (or three behavioural areas if you are not measuring your ability to manage difficult situations) that have been identified as important for preventing and reducing stress at work. It may be helpful to refer back to the questionnaire to see if there are any behaviours you could add to your repertoire in this area to increase your effectiveness in managing stress in others. 76% to 89% = Reasonable: You show a good awareness of the behaviours needed for effectively preventing and reducing stress in others. ‘Reasonable’ or ‘Effective’ using the guidance above. 90% and above = Effective: You demonstrate the behaviours that have been shown to be effective in preventing and reducing stress in your team. add ‘Development Need’.

5 n Information and resources may also be available through your employer.mentalhealth. Identify the ones that you indicated you do least and consider what you need to do in order to show these behaviours more often. Employee Assistance Programme/Welfare Service and Human Resources.mind. It may simply be a matter of being more aware of how you are behaving at the moment and making small shifts to add the relevant additional (or alternative) behaviours to your repertoire. 4 If you feel that it will be difficult for you to make these behavioural changes on your own. we suggest the following steps: 1 Look for the behavioural area in which you received the lowest score and focus on this as top priority. take them one at a time – you don’t have to change everything at once! 2 Look back at the questionnaire to explore what behaviours are relevant to this n Mental Health Foundation and Mind websites: for information about mental health issues: www. and/or you might want to attend a training course to develop the relevant skills. you might find it helpful to get some formal coaching or mentoring. If you have identified several Development Needs or areas that you would like to move into the ‘Effective’ zone. in addition to the information provided on the Health and Safety Executive website. for example from: Occupational Health. 3 You may find it helpful to check out with your team whether they would find it helpful for you to show more of these particular behaviours and how that would be different from what you do at the moment. consider seeking and www.WHAT DO I DO NEXT? In order to improve your effectiveness at preventing and reducing stress at work. For example. . and outlines of the key behaviours in each. you may find the following useful for gaining more information about managing stress and mental health at work: n SHIFT Line Manager’s Resource: for practical guidance on managing and supporting people with mental health problems in the workplace: www. You could ask them to give you feedback on how you are doing.shift. informal coaching or support from your own manager and/or from the HR department might be On the following page is also a summary of the four behavioural areas.

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