Personal and Organizational Strategies for Handling Stress


By

Surbhi Dewan
Assistant Professor
IIMT Engineering College
Meerut
 


Introduction- Organizational life is quite stressful. Work pressures, tight schedules, meetings that never seem to end on time, helpful colleagues, critical bosses, incompetent subordinates and a host of other irritating factors may have a cumulative effect in making the lives of modern-day executives quite miserable. As we all know that stress is the body reaction to any demand made on it. Perceptions of events , whether positive or negative, active stress.

The term 'Stress' normally refers to excessive stress caused by extraordinary demands ( which cause us to lose something we desire),constraints(things that keep us from doing what we desire)or opportunities.

Two faces of Stress

  • Constructive stress ( Eustress as it is sometimes called)acts in a positive manner for individual and the organization example winning a contest, or fall in love. Eustress can indicate a situation where the individual is in balance or within tolerable limits.
  • Destructive stress   (Distress)is not healthy for the individual and/or organization. Distress would indicate effects that are out of balance or outside the tolerance limits. Excessive stress may lead to overload and breakdown a person's physical and mental systems. Performance can suffer as people experience illness brought on by very intense stress and/or react to high stress through absenteeism, turnover, errors, accidents and dissatisfaction and reduced performance.

Symptoms of Stress

There are a number of biological, psychological and behavioral changes which can be symptomatic of individual stress.

Biological- These include lack of appetite, craving for food when under pressure, frequent indigestion, or heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, insomnia, constant tiredness, tendency to sweat for no good reason, nervous ,twitches ,nail-baiting ,headaches, cramps and muscle spasms, nausea, breathlessness without exertion, fainting spells, high blood pressure etc.

Psychological- A number of psychological changes can be symptomatic of excessive or persistent stress. These include negativism, expression of boredom, dissatisfaction, irritability, anger over unimportant issues, feelings of persecution ,apathy ,resignation ,fantasy, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, procrastination, inability to make decisions, uncertainty about whom to trust, inner confusion about duty and roles etc.

Behavioral- These include constant irritability with people, unable to cope, lack of interest in life, constant or recurrent fear of disease, a feeling of being a failure, a feeling of being bad or of self-hatred, difficulty in making decisions, a feeling of ugliness, lack of interest in other people, an intense fear of open or enclosed spaces or being along.

Management of Stress:

It is true that employees do not want any stress at work. As the current research evidence indicates, employees are energized and motivated by moderate amounts of stress. There are a variety of ways in which individual cope or deal with stress. Broadly, these could be classified into two categories are

    1. Individual Coping Strategies
    2. Organizational Coping Strategies

Individual Coping Strategies for Handling Stress

Time Management-  Inability to manage time could create stressful situations on the job quite frequently. Unfinished work, Critical remarks from boss and colleagues, comments from subordinates in hushed tones ,misplaced papers, may all make the life of an executive quite miserable.

Tips for Time management:-

  • Carry your to 'do list' with you at all times.
  • Put all the tasks you need to remember however small, on the list.
  • Delegate or choose not to do some tasks.
  • Review the list in the evening.
  • Write a new list every day.
  • Do the most difficult part first.
  • Provide proper action plans etc

Exercise :- Physically inactive individual have higher incidence of heart attack and death than do active individuals exercise, as most of the studies indicate, reduces depression, anxiety and phobias. When everybody does exercise regularly, the day –long tension on the job is given a decent burial.

Meditation and relaxation:- Mind gets the needed relaxation when we engage in a creative hobby like painting, reading, gardening etc .The wonderful effect of prayer as a relaxation measure have  been well documented in our ancient scriptures. Meditation also helps in putting our nagging thoughts to rest. Meditation is focusing on something in a relaxed state.

Organizational Coping Strategies for Handling Stress

Role Clarity:- Define employee roles clearly .Employees must have clear understanding of the job. T hey must know what the company expects and be confident that they can meet these expectations.

Management can initiate these steps which are.

  • Redefining the person's Role.
  • Reduce overload by redistributing work.
  • Set up Proper Procedure.
  • Arrange for meeting

Clear Career paths:- To reduce uncertainty ,each employee must be sure of where he is heading for, say after 5 years with in the same organization. A clear career path and the job rewards and benefits that follow committed service would go a long way in preventing or reducing distress levels greatly.

Company- wide Programmers:- A variety of Programmers can be used to manage work stress. Management can help reduce stress in the work environment by holding team meetings, using proper management techniques, employing effective communication system and reducing uncertainty among employees.

Conclusion:- Now a days a problem of Stress is becoming common in the Organization. It can lead to poor performance on the job, excessive use of alcohol or other drugs, poor attendance or even overall poor health. In facts, there is growing evidence that undue stress is related to the diseases that are major causes of death-coronary heart attack, stroke,   hypertension, diabetes, cancer and also suicide.  There are different individual and organizational strategies for handling stress.
 


Surbhi Dewan
Assistant Professor
IIMT Engineering College
Meerut
 

Source: E-mail May 20, 2011

          

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