Below are some major organizational sources of stress followed by a chart offering antidotes and suggestions for what employees can do to manage that stress within their spheres of influence.
Source of Stress #1 - Lack of Congruence
Organizations and leadership should demonstrate congruence between spoken or written words and actions. This has been described as “walking the talk.” When people or organizations say one thing but do another thing, a lack of congruence exists.
Source of Stress #2 - People Are Treated as Objects
Most people have had the unfortunate experience during their careers of feeling that they had been treated as an object. When organizational policies or methods of dealing with employees are adopted in which the individuals are treated as easily replaceable parts, those employees become objects. The humanness of the employees is overlooked when the organization places unhealthy demands on the workforce in the areas of hours worked, amount of work to be completed, the extent of travel, and the style of interpersonal treatment.
Source of Stress #3 - Organizations that Deny and Avoid Conflict
Some organizations, for a number of reasons, function within a culture in which issues are left unattended or avoided. The behavioral norm in these companies is to keep silent in the face of a problem instead of effective conflict management. The unwritten code of conduct becomes: “Sure, there is an 800-pound elephant in the living room, but let’s all pretend it is not there.” In these organizations, stress mounts because issues are neither identified nor pushed toward closure.
Source of Stress #4 - The narcissistic leader
Some of the qualities that contribute to successful leadership—a sense of personal self-importance or a preoccupation with success and power—can also be warning signs of the narcissistic leader. The narcissistic leader is so consumed by personal goals and needs that it is nearly impossible for this person to identify the needs of others. This person, in the extreme, may be known for interpersonal relationships that are exploitative and shallow. Also associated with this type of leader is a tendency toward arrogance and the trait of measuring every opportunity based on how it will benefit him or her personally.
|Sources of Stress and What to Do About it – For Employees|
|Source of Stress||Type of Stress Placed on Individuals||Optimal Stress Management Approach|
|Organizational lack of congruence between statements and actions (not “walking the talk”)||Pressure to explain or rationalize the lack of organizational congruence for yourself and others||Be congruent yourself, without adding pressure on self to explain or account for organizational lack of congruence. Know what you can control and surrender what you can’t.|
|People are treated as objects||Pressure to blend in and threat of treating team members as objects||Treat people well, define for yourself (and if possible for others) what respectful behavior is- while staying realistic regarding what you can do to rectify organization’s shortcomings|
|Self-centered, narcissistic senior managers||Pressure to get senior managers to perceive and comprehend the needs of the team||Work hard to get their attention and understanding while staying realistic regarding what you can expect to achieve with this type of person|
|Organization denies or avoids conflict||Frustration -as organizational denial or avoidance allows interpersonal problems to fester||
Resolve and discuss conflicts in your sphere of influence. Allow conflicts in other areas to be addressed by leaders in those settings
Motivational Speaker Stress