Is your leadership style creating stress in your organization?
If it is then it is costing you and your company dearly.
Prolonged stress is linked to numerous life-threatening diseases and debilitating disorders. Prolonged stress can be a major contributor to a myriad of addictions, including drug, alcohol and cigarettes. The effects of stress are also linked to obesity and suicide. Evidence suggests that stress is the major cause of turnover in organizations.
About one-third of workers report high levels of stress. One-quarter of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Three-quarters of employees believe the worker has more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.
As explained in the Feeling Trapped: Stressed Out! article. The first step to minimizing stress begins with awareness.
As a responsible Leader you need to be aware of what the Symptoms of Stress are.
When the body perceives a threat, the adrenal glands release stress hormones. The perceived threat can be a physical or emotional threat. When these chemicals are released they are stimulants to the brain and body to react. Some of our body’s reactions are:
- Increasing muscle tension
- Increasing blood pressure
- Increasing blood sugar levels
- Increasing heart rate
- Speeding up of metabolism
- Minimizing the output of regulatory hormones
- Diverting blood flow from the brain to the extremities
- Increasing respiratory rate
There are many physical symptoms that these changes in the body can create.
Here are some examples:
- Increase in bodily sweat
- Clenched teeth
- Short and shallow breathing
- Palpitations of the heart
- Knot in the stomach
- Hands shaking
- Back and neck pain
- Trouble sleeping
Our brain’s reaction to these symptoms of stress is what gives us our feelings of stress.
Some examples are:
- Incessant mind chatter
- Poor concentration
- Brain in a fog
- Lack of self confidence
- Inability to make decisions
- Poor judgment
- Lack of control
When you are stressed it causes stress in your organization, whether you like it or not, or whether you realize it or not.
The challenge for most Leaders is actually being cognizant of when we are stressed. It is such an habitual state for us to be in, that most of the time we don’t even know when we are in it!
Now that you know more about the general Symptoms of Stress, it’s time to take it to a more individual level. We all have distinctive and personal indicators that we manifest when we are feeling stressed.
What are yours?
Physical symptoms are the most obvious:
Do you bite your nails?
Do you perspire?
Do you clench your teeth?
Do you get a headache or feel your neck muscles getting tight?
Maybe you don’t have any obvious physical symptoms because your signs are more intangible.
Do you feel overwhelmed?
Do you get anxious?
Maybe you are irritable?
Do you get curt with people because you are frustrated with what you perceive as their ineptness?
If you want to cope with your stress then you need to recognize what types of behavior you exhibit while in a “stressful state” and which situations trigger these behaviors.
Contemplate on what your significant symptoms are when you are feeling stressed. List as many as possible.
Go through each point and reflect on it. Write down in as much detail as possible the situations that usually trigger these stressors.
You are now raising your awareness as to your personal stress triggers. This is a vital step to ultimately minimizing your stress. In the upcoming January article in the Feeling Trapped Series on Stress you will learn how to use your personal stress triggers to lower your stress levels. Don’t forget to bring your List of Stress Triggers with you!
Do you recognize any of these symptoms of stress in your employees? Is stress impacting your organization? How is stress impacting your leadership?
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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders™
Karen Parsons is president of Successful Solutions Life Coaching
She offers Life, Business and Career Coaching for Individuals and Organizations
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Image Sources: stress-treatment-21.com