The Cost of Stress – the Need to Monitor and Manage the Risks!

Written by Graham Yemm

Continued from page 1

Why dorepparttar figures show such an increase in stress related problems in recent years? Has that much changed? In short, yes! There are a number of factors, and these are an indicator and not a comprehensive list.

  • Workloads – reductions in headcount yetrepparttar 142525 same or more work expected ofrepparttar 142526 people left behind
  • The pace of life, hassles with getting around, speed of response to things
  • Expectations – of self and others
  • Lack of control over aspects of our lives
  • Materialism
  • Values not being met or having to operate in conflict with our values
What can organisations do to monitor and managerepparttar 142527 stress risk?

One ofrepparttar 142528 first things to acknowledge that there is a risk. Too many managers, especially senior executives, want to hide their heads inrepparttar 142529 sand and deny that there is a problem, or potential problem. They certainly do not want to suggest that they may be a significant contributor torepparttar 142530 problem! Stress is not a problem confined torepparttar 142531 executive suite! In fact, a higher percentage ofrepparttar 142532 workforce downrepparttar 142533 line will suffer stress-related problems than senior management. Having said that,repparttar 142534 consequences torepparttar 142535 organisation andrepparttar 142536 people of an over-stressed senior manager can be horrendous!

The organisation can use a number of factors to assess whether there is problem. As in most forms of good management, gathering data is key. Work from facts and not only conjecture, though do not ignore it.

One ofrepparttar 142537 “standards” is to look at absenteeism, bothrepparttar 142538 levels and any patterns. Isrepparttar 142539 level static or increasing? Is any area ofrepparttar 142540 organisation suffering more thanrepparttar 142541 others? What happens when employees return to work, do you have a meeting with them to find outrepparttar 142542 real reasons forrepparttar 142543 absence, and what you can do to prevent them recurring? Also, willrepparttar 142544 organisation offer support to helprepparttar 142545 employee? If there is a pattern in one area, what is being done to addressrepparttar 142546 cause? (Is itrepparttar 142547 nature ofrepparttar 142548 work, orrepparttar 142549 manager orrepparttar 142550 environment?)

Look atrepparttar 142551 quality information. Is there an increase in errors, customer complaints or, are other standards not being achieved? Before chasingrepparttar 142552 teams or individuals and demanding improvements, explore why things have begun to slip. Talk to people about what is going on and how they feel.

What is happening torepparttar 142553 staff turnover figures? Any trends apparent? Isrepparttar 142554 organisation using exit interviews to findrepparttar 142555 real reasons behindrepparttar 142556 departure?

To get a proper overview as an organisation, a good starting point is to carry out a simple audit. Questions in these areas will help to get an immediate sense of whererepparttar 142557 organisation is in terms of meetingrepparttar 142558 HSE criteria. It will also highlight where issues may occur.

  • The culture of your organisation - how does it approach work-related stress?
  • Demands on people, such as workload and exposure to physical hazards. Is work sensibly scheduled so thatrepparttar 142559 workload levels are right?
  • Control over their work andrepparttar 142560 way they do it – how much say do staff have? Are managers reasonable in their expectations and treatment of their teams?
  • Relationships – how do you deal with issues such as bullying or harassment? (Another point, up to 1 in 5 people report they have been bullied at work.)
  • Organisational change – how is it managed and communicated?
  • Understanding of role – do individuals understand their role inrepparttar 142561 organisation? Doesrepparttar 142562 organisation ensure that individuals do not have conflicting roles or challenges? (Is there a clear definition of roles?)
  • Support and training from peers and line managers forrepparttar 142563 person to be able to dorepparttar 142564 core functions ofrepparttar 142565 job – do you cater for individual needs and differences?
How well would your workplace score? Which areas could do with some attention? Remember, prevention is usually preferable to cure in most things. In this case, it is almost certainly a less expensive option! Pay attention to these factors andrepparttar 142566 organisation can start to address stress early on, preventing it becoming a problem.

Another thing forrepparttar 142567 management team to do, is to develop an understanding of stress, its causes, symptoms and consequences. They can then begin to operate in a way which will create a healthier organisation. They can monitorrepparttar 142568 “health” usingrepparttar 142569 approach above – and then set about managing to maintain a healthy environment. The secret to stress management is not about learning to relax, exercise or other coping strategies, although these do help. It is about getting torepparttar 142570 cause ofrepparttar 142571 problem and dealing with it from there. Good management practices, good communication, and supporting and caring for people will all help to reducerepparttar 142572 risk of stress. Reduce stress and you reduce risks in many other areas ofrepparttar 142573 business.

Graham Yemm a founding partner of Solutions 4 Training Ltd. He has worked with many different organisations around the world conducting both training and consultancy assignments. He is a Master Practitioner of NLP and an accredited trainer for the LAB profile programme – “Words that Change Minds”. Contact,

Tips For Maintaining Client Relationships

Written by Erich Heintz

Continued from page 1

Rarely is there a single solution to a problem. Be able to provide options to your client. If they balk at your first solution, have alternative approaches ready to discuss and explain to themrepparttar tradeoffs involved. A client will always respect your efforts to work with them and meet all their needs, as opposed to just providing a canned solution.

Know When To Be Inflexible --------------------------- When client constraints force a loss of proposed functionality be fully prepared to explain, or even argue, howrepparttar 142524 compromise will degrade or even nullifyrepparttar 142525 effectiveness of your proposal. Implementing a poor solution because “the customer told you to” is a bad idea and will generally come back to haunt you.

If you haverepparttar 142526 flexibility, you may decide to decline a project because of too many forced compromises. Believe it or not, turning down work on principle will sometimes jostlerepparttar 142527 customer into acceptingrepparttar 142528 original proposal, because they now see that you are looking out for their interests, not just billable hours. Once in a while, “my way orrepparttar 142529 highway” works.

If You Don't Know An Answer, Admit It ------------------------------------- Too often when confronted with a client challenge consultants try to “fake” their way through an effort. While you may be able to get a way with this once (or even a couple of times), eventually it will catch up with you. I’ve found that most customers respond surprisingly well to “I do not know, but I will find out.”

Any time you try to bluff your way through a scenario, you runrepparttar 142530 risk of being discovered. Once you break a client’s trust, it’s virtually impossible to regain it.

Keep Your Attitude In Check --------------------------- Frustrations exist in every facet of business. Due torepparttar 142531 need for customer interaction, consulting can be particularly stressful. There are ways to express dissatisfaction or frustration without blowing your top. When faced with a stressful situation, measure your words and your disposition carefully. Delivery is often more significant thanrepparttar 142532 message. Carefully worded, you’d be surprised just what you can tell a client to go do with themselves, and get away with it.

Conclusion ---------- There’s no holy grail here, just a few nuggets of advice that I’ve come to realize in my own years as a consultant. I’m not giving any guarantees of success. If I could, I’d write a book and retire on royalties. What I can guarantee is long term survival in this industry hinges on established customers. Keeping these customers returning to you requiresrepparttar 142533 same care and feeding as any other relationship.

About The Author ---------------- Erich Heintz currently specializes in providing network and security solutions for small to medium businesses that frequently have to resolve the conflict of need versus budget. His commitment to precision and excellence is eclipsed only by his fascination with gadgets, particularly ones that are shiny, or that blink, or that beep.

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