|Stress Management Information|
10 Ways to Monitor Corporate Stress Levels
10 Ways to Monitor Corporate Stress Levels
Good military leaders work hard to balance the
positive and negative stress. Positive stress
encourages high performance. Negative stress
degrades individual and unit capability. The best
leaders know how to use positive stress to get the
most out of their personnel. And they know how to
tone things down to when negative stress threatens
The Army is fanatic about training officers and
sergeants to take care of the troops. And these
well-trained leaders are fanatic about carrying
out their responsibilities. The soldiers in their
command don't always realize why these leaders are
so focused on having everything ready --
personnel, equipment, and training 100 percent
Even the most personable leaders are sometimes
accused of managing "by the book" or of being too
concerned with their own personal recognition and
promotion. But those who make these allegations,
miss the point. Just the opposite is true.
These "fanatic" leaders are primarily interested
in the welfare of their troops. They want to
complete the unit mission with minimum personnel
loss. Strict discipline, intensive and complete
training, and numerous inspections are essential
for combat readiness.
Failing to enforce regulations, conduct detailed
inspections, or practice combat readiness is
tantamount to dereliction of duty. The extra
effort that goes into intensive training programs
creates additional stress in the unit, but less
persistent commanders actually endanger their
troops and their mission when they fail to
schedule training that teaches troops how to deal
Some corporate jobs are just as stressful as
military assignments. And some ongoing business
situations are as stressful as armed combat. You
can find the stressed employees by monitoring the
frequency of the conditions such as:
6. Loss of self confidence
9. Rapid emotional shifts
10. Physical exhaustion
--- How to objectively measure stress ---
Privacy laws prevent accumulation of specific
medical histories. But there are ways to get a
handle on what's going on in your company.
Here are some practical ways to bench mark current
levels and monitor future stress related
1. Absences - require strict reporting. Watch for
changes or trends; The more absenteeism, the
greater the chance that stress is a factor.
2. Tardiness - Develop a daily report and weekly
summaries. Are some departments worse than others?
Are people arriving late because they dread the
3. Medical claims - Seek generic information from
your health insurance company on the number and
expense of medical claims. Categorize information
by type of ailment and observe how the frequency
of visits compares to major corporate activities
or stressful times of year. You might find that
stressful periods coincide with or precede an
increase in medical claims.
4. Professional assistance - Experts can analyze
the ways stress might be at the root of physical
ailments. They can help you examine the cause-and-
effect relationships that escape the attention of
those who aren't as well trained in stress
5. Complaints or grievances - Keep records by
department. Those with a greater numbers of
complaints are probably ready for some stress-
6. Accident reports - Analyze accident reports
from the perspective of stress involvement.
Research how stress might have been the root cause
7. Errors in judgment or misstatements. Develop a
log of individual errors in judgment and
misstatements. If certain employees are prone to
making misstatements, they are prone to errors in
judgment. Monitor their decision making to
evaluate the cost of stress for your company.
8. Personal relationships - Note changes in the
way people relate to each other and the types of
action that cause some people to become more
argumentative. You can use this information to
control stress for the entire organization or for
specific individuals who are more sensitive to
9. Customer service problems - Review customer
service problems from a stress perspective.
Determine whether some kind of stress reduction
could improve relations with customers or reduce
the number of errors involved with order taking,
preparation, shipping, or invoicing.
10. Quality problems - Include in your quality
reports a description of stress-related activities
occurring before and during the period in
question. Watch for trends among certain
employees or departments. Try to find the causes
of stress and what can be done to control the
Corporate leaders and managers sometimes try to
manage the stressed people by using increased
demands and closer supervision. Instead, you
should use stress-reducing techniques to manage
While the demanding remedies of dictatorial
managers might get short-term improvement from
stressed employees, such relief is usually only
temporary. The increased urgency and focus on
details typically generates even more stress, and
the problems shift from slight distractions, such
as back pain, headaches, and inattention, to more
drastic reactions such as absenteeism and medical
problems, both good indicators that stress levels
Just as in the Army, most leaders must be taught
to manage stress and to observe for negative
stress reactions. All managers need to understand
the importance of positive stress in maximizing
accuracy and productivity. And they need to know
how to control the negative stress for the benefit
of those involved and the bottom line.
If you don't have qualified staff in your company,
outside consultants and trainers can help you
evaluate current stress levels and train everyone
involved. Remember, stress control is a
To learn more about controlling the top workplace
stressors, request a free 3-session mini course by
sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale Collie - professional speaker, former US Army Ranger, CEO, and a Fast Company top 50 innovative leader. Author of "Winning Under Fire." (McGraw-Hill) email@example.com
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