Dealing with Stress due to Cut Backs or the Fear of Redundancy

Dealing with the causes of stress

Dealing with stress can be expensive in terms of both time and money not to mention the risk of an employment tribunal - here is a way of resolving this issue

If you work in an organisation that is cutting back, downsizing or just trying to survive, the chances are that staff will be faced with increasing pressure to perform. This may be real or perceived pressure but either way, to the individual this will be real. Once this pressure becomes excessive then it becomes stress.

The biggest single source of stress is incompetent, poorly trained and inappropriately promoted managers, says Gary Cooper, Professor of Organisation Psychology and Health at Lancaster University. The other main causes of stress are:
- Excessive workload
- An individual’s feeling of lack of control over their work
- Managers fault finding as opposed to providing encouragement
- Bullying
- Organisational change
It is worth pointing out that all the above with the exception of organisational change rests primarily with an individual’s immediate or line manager.

Stress needs to be recognised and dealt with and not necessarily by referring them to occupational health, that is, if the organisation has one! In any case this will only be a short term measure because once staff come back to work, the problem is likely to manifest itself once more because the source of the problem ie. the manager, is still going to be there.

Recognising stress though very important is the effect and not the cause. To resolve this, then it is critical to address the cause. Assess your managers. Assess them to find if they have shortfalls affecting these stress related issues and how they can be addressed. You can do this using our comprehensive assessment, the Profile XT (PXT) which when compared to the manager’s job profile (job fit) will identify where their weaknesses are and provide recommendations as to how they can be overcome. This becomes significantly more powerful if combined with 360º feedback analysis.

The PXT examines ability, reasoning, character and work interests in relation to the job an individual does whereas our CheckPoint 360º feedback systems examine management competencies assessed by the manager’s boss, him(her)self, peers and subordinates. Some of the factors that come out of this approach which affect stress related issues are:
- Abilities to communicate
- Language of communication
- Level of delegation
- Leadership
- Motivation
- Micro/macro management
- Clarity of purpose.
This approach is thorough.

An alternative approach can be achieved using our team analysis assessments. This can be carried out more quickly and can be more cost effective. This however is not as comprehensive and does not provide the same depth of information nor does it cover competencies but can be used to balance teams effectively and give enough feedback to the manager to better manage his or her team.

If you are a manager and you consider that stress is or potentially may be a an issue within your team, then you should look at yourself first to consider what you need to do. If it's not you then those suffering more from stress or taking more time off work (for many reasons) may just be in the wrong job so assess them. Our article 'The right job fit makes for healthier workers' explains this in more detail.

For a discussion on the best approach to manage stress and deal with the cause and not the effect, please call +44 (0)1491 636300 or email or click the need help box in the right hand column.