10 Symptoms of Workplace Stress That Aren't Easily Recognizable

Armen Hareyan's picture
Advertisement

Control of workplace stress is a leadership responsibility. Good leaders who recognize the symptoms of stress can control situations to create more desirable workplaces and to improve both productivity and the bottom line.

It is no secret that stress and related disorders are the most frequent cause of employee disability (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). As far back as 1992, a United Nations report called job stress a "world wide epidemic.

Control of workplace stress is a leadership responsibility. Good leaders who recognize the symptoms of stress can control situations to create more desirable workplaces and to improve both productivity and the bottom line.

Corporate leaders who have served in the military recognize employee stress when they observe symptoms such as:

1 Anxiety

2 Indecisiveness

3 Irritability

4 Complaining

5 Forgetfulness

6 Loss of self confidence

Advertisement

7 Argumentativeness

8 Insomnia

9 Rapid emotional shifts

10 Physical exhaustion

Symptoms such as these cost companies billions of dollars each year in health care costs, absenteeism, accidents, quality control, personnel turnover, and various interpersonal relationship problems.

Some managers mistakenly try to control stressful problems by increasing demands and supervising details. Increased urgency and focus on details typically generates even more stress. 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 need attention.

Just as in the Army, most business 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 leadership responsibility.

_________________________

Dale Collie speaker, author, coach, and former US Army Ranger, CEO,and teacher at West Point. Selected by "Fast Company" as one of America's Fast 50 innovative leaders. Author of "Frontline Leadership: From War Room to Boardroom," and "Winning Under Fire: Turn Stress into Success the US Army Way" McGraw-Hill. Website: http://www.couragebuilders.com

Update: Interestingly, Yale University's Yale Daily has published a story saying Stress may offer workplace benefits. But opponents of the study say stress shifts our focus from completing the task at hand to the fear and anxiety about not completing that task. Do you agree of disagree?

This page is updated on March 20, 2013.

Advertisement