What Causes Work Stress
and How Can We Handle It?
Work stress is caused by a large variety of factors but can be reduced with increased knowledge and determination to understand human behavior and the interaction it plays within our work environment.
If you supervise others it is important to know more about human behaviors since reducing work stress depends a large amount on how effective you are at handling different employee situations.
The two best directions would be to gain more knowledge from The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability to see the importance of where individuals are in their lives and also find out QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life which, explains how negative, inappropriate questions like "Why do we have to go through all this change?" and "Who dropped the ball?" represent a lack of personal accountability.
Conversely, when we ask better questions-QBQs-such as "What can I do to contribute?" or "How can I help solve the problem?" our lives and our organizations are transformed and work stress is decreased.
Some Leading Causes of Occupational Stress
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Difficult employees
- Lack of control
- Finding balance
- Bad communication
- Job satisfaction
- Working with confidence
- Accepting a new job
- Child care
- Queen Bee syndrome
When occupational stress reaches overload you may be showing signs of job burnout. If you detect these symptoms it is best to act quickly to prevent this from occurring. There are options that a supervisor can use to reduce members stress as well as actions that an employee can take to prevent or reverse job burnout.
Lack of enthusiasm - After years at the same job the lack of variety and boredom becomes an issue if the individual is not permitted to grow and take on additional responsibilities.
The job becomes monotonous and the individual will seek to enhance other skills in an attempt to leave this position and locate employment that will support the growth of its individuals.
Responsibility without any control indicates that this person is to remain a puppet on strings, someone who doesn’t have the ability to influence the decisions that are made but expected to carry out the change without questions.
Difficult employees – Work stress is increased when confronted with a difficult subordinate or co-worker and finding the underlying source of the problem will be the key to turning around a bad attitude.
This may be a simple issue of insufficient training which discourages the employee or may involve at home problems that cause anxiety to overextend into the work atmosphere. Poor pay and promotional opportunities can dampen the spirits of motivated individuals who need to experience continual growth to feed their ambitions.
Whatever the issue the employee knows what it is, it is your job to gain their confidence to encourage the interaction of communication and help them to find resolve to their dilemma. Look for the question behind the question.
Lack of control – Work stress mostly affects middle management since upper management has more control over making or having input in all of the decisions and how things will be implemented.
Sometimes they delegate more than what middle management can handle at one time. It may help to fine tune your organizational skills; this alone reduces stress and saves valuable time. For the most part unrealistic expectations are set unknowingly when a desired goal is identified but the fully implemented stages have not been well thought out.
You need to be able to communicate the overload to your superiors and together define an action plan to implement completion. This will in turn lesson the feelings of becoming overwhelmed.
Finding balance - The One Minute Manager Balances Work and Life
For all those busy, achieving people with overcrowded schedules, here is a useful blueprint that shows how to manage stress and make a lifetime commitment to fitness and well-being.
By following the four important strategies outlined in this book for balancing a complicated life, everyone can get their bodies back into shape and their lives into proper perspective.
Bad communication - Communication with your superiors is essential to reduce work stress. There are many personalities in this world and each personality has its positives and negatives as does everything else. If your boss cannot approach you on your level of communication than it becomes hard to keep things running smoothly and will increase the amount of work stress that you will experience.
This is a form of inadequate leadership. You must always strive to meet on middle ground and most importantly never give up but try to get closer so that you can better understand that persons work philosophy. Determine their capabilities and where you can best fit in to be of benefit to them as a leader.
One hand needs to know what the other hand is doing. If you are in charge of one project and then you find that someone else is popping in here and there and making decisions that alter the flow either politely let that individual know that interferences will only complicate and confuse matters or back away and let another take over the project if that seems to be the goal that they want to meet.
You can simply accept their help and move onto the next project but don’t be snippy about it, let them know if they have any questions you will be glad to point them in the right direction.
Job satisfaction - If you wake up in the morning and dread the thought of getting in that vehicle, driving to work, and entering those doors than you are definitely not satisfied with your job and this will highly increase the amount of work stress that you face on a daily basis. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to quit and move on, maybe you just need more of a challenge to keep your interest peaked or maybe you are so overloaded with work that the stress has become unmanageable.
Whatever the reason is, there are solutions waiting to be found. Take some time and jot down some notes. What do you like about your job and what do you not like about your job. Find what is making you unhappy and is the cause of your work stress. Once you find that reason, write down all the possible solutions to change this situation even if you think it is unreasonable or impossible.
After you have ideas in writing place them to the side for a few days as you mull over your thoughts. You may end up taking partial solutions from a couple of your ideas and find that putting them together is a reasonable solution. Maybe you need to speak to your supervisor and let them know the changes that you are thinking of and ask them if they would be willing to offer some additional suggestions. If you ever approach a supervisor with a problem to discuss always be prepared to offer possible solutions.
There is an answer which is an acceptable solution to all problems but you will need to be the one to initiate a change and take control over the amount of work stress that you experience.
Working with confidence - You need to be comfortable with yourself as a person and be willing to be part of the team.
You will draw people towards you with simple changes and adjustments to how you interact with your co-workers and supervisors.
Accepting a new job - Entering a new position is a stressful process. You are learning many new procedures to comply with the requirements of the job and its responsibilities, these may become overwhelming but with time, as with any job, once you learn one procedure and move onto the next your list decreases.
Your objective is to keep positive, understand from the beginning that you are accepting new challenges that will help you expand your knowledge and everyone has to go through an adjustment period both you and the individuals that you will be working with.
You are also adjusting to a new environment and this will take a week or two before you feel you are walking on solid ground. Remaining positive and displaying a good attitude will generate admiration and gain approval.
Child care - One of the strongest challenges for mothers in the workforce are daycare facilities. This has become a more notable problem over the years as the female workforce has magnified by large numbers.
Some larger corporations and governmental agencies have attempted to reduce this work stress by the establishment of in house daycare facilities. This not only reduces the stress placed on the mother but reduces the absenteeism rate that is caused by disruptions in child care resources.
Queen Bee syndrome – some individual’s feel they need to be the center of attention. The queen bee flits and flutters picking up tidbits of honey from others and then insinuates that without their input the project may have been less than satisfactory. Queen Bee’s only have moments of gratification whereas the work oriented individual carries accomplishments forward and builds on experience and success.
It is best to create a balance with fun, humor, and compassion with your co-workers and intermingle this with your enthusiasm of strong work ethics to gain respect and guide others to mimic your enthusiasm.
Other remedies that are helpful to manage stress in the work place are positive thinking practices, control techniques
, meditation and altering your perception.
Keeping a positive attitude above everything is a strong goal to achieve in your efforts to reduce work stress. Our personalities create our world. It explains how we become optimistic or pessimistic. It shapes our goals, our attitude toward work and relationships, and how we raise our children, ultimately predicting whether or not we will fulfill our potential. If you work on this on a daily basis you will find stress eventually will not be able to penetrate your shield of optimism and will encourage others to follow suit.
Stress in the Work Place article
Other Related Links:
Reducing job stress
Avoid job burnout