Managing stress in the workplace


Anyone in a stressful job can burn out.

And we do burn out.

What is your unique situation?

Do you know the stresses in it?

Can you take control of them before they control you?

There exist various causes of stress at work.

Some of them include:

  • Difficulty obtaining information required to do your job
  • Reticent or uncooperative bosses, clients, customers, co-workers and subordinates
  • Canceled projects—after the work’s done
  • Unreasonable or unclear deadlines
  • Unwieldy tools or equipment for which you have received little or inadequate training
  • Office politics
  • Occupational injuries

Burnout is a situational problem.

It is not an individual failing.

Most stresses leading to burnout are caused by organizational and environmental problems.

Some stresses can be changed; others cannot.

Many unchangeable ones can be borne if there are sufficiently significant rewards. These are the ones we accept as ‘part-and-parcel‘ of the job—but only when we’re paid for tolerating them.

What we need to do is distinguish between the ones we can solve and those we have to live with.

For stresses that can be changed, take action.

The more control we have on them and the more we can set our own limits, the less likely we are to burn out.

For problems that cannot be altered, cultivate support groups.

Gather sympathetic peers, use stress-reduction techniques, and extract pleasure or meaning from some aspects of your job viz. look on the bright side.

Take up problems that can be rectified with your manager.

Phrase the problem in a non-blaming and non-threatening manner. Suggest one or more solutions. Be involved in the solutions.

Be confrontational if your manager cannot be your buffer. You have to be firm and set boundaries and insist on the information required to do your work.

Avoid judging co-workers.

Express your appreciation of them at every available opportunity.

Ask for feedback; offer to give it.

Include a healthy dose of praise with diplomatic, constructive suggestions.

Allocate time in your busy schedule for rest, relaxation, recuperation and exercise. You are not a machine and neither are your colleagues.

Enjoy the inherent joy in your work; seek not just the extrinsic rewards.

Should you leave or stay?

If none of the above works, focus on your long-term goals.

They can help you quit when the time is right, by providing a vision of a happier future.

Finally, beware of overwork and the resultant occupational injuries it can bring. Seek medical help when needed. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

(Adapted from Chapter 18: Hazards of being a Tech Writer of Janet Van Wicklen’s Tech Writer’s Survival Guide)

Lynda Bourne: How to Build Ethics into Your Team Culture

Ethical behavior is just as crucial as effective leadership in persuading stakeholders to cooperate and support the work of the project manager — and therefore contributes to successful project outcomes.



Ethical behavior has been a hallmark of PMI’s drive to establish the profession of project management, supported by the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.



What is less well understood is the crucial role leaders play in establishing the ethical culture of their organizations.



One key direction ethical leadership takes is indirectly — across the hierarchy, to peers of the leader. There is also a cascading effect, with the ethics of a senior leader influencing a subordinate leader’s behaviors. In turn, ethical conduct trickles down to the subordinate leader’s team culture, and so on down the hierarchy.



Continue reading on PMI Blogs…

Ethics and Technology

Ethics and Technology (Photo credit: Center for the Study of Ethics at UVU)



Ethics and Technology

Ethics and Technology (Photo credit: Center for the Study of Ethics at UVU)

Karin Hurt: “But Your Life Looks So Perfect on Facebook”

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just got off the phone with an old friend.  She had several important concerns weighing on her heart.  We talked about them for a while, and then she shared:

You know I was talking to another friend about this and she said, “but your life looks so perfect on Facebook.”

I took a quick look at her Facebook page.  Of course it did.  It’s Facebook.   Who wants to put their troubles out there for the world to see?   All those great pics are absolutely true.  Much in her life is fantastic.  And, like every single one of us, other parts are messy.

So What’s This Got To Do With Leadership?

Continue reading on Let’s Grow Leaders…

A President is to a Nation as a CEO is to a Boardroom

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was critical of Barack Obama during his presidential stint for two faults. I don’t mean this  post to be a political diatribe in any way, I’d simply like to illustrate how structural dynamics thinking can be used as a framework at all levels: the soccer team, the family, the multi-billion dollar corporation, and the nation. I argue, that ultimately, understanding SD theory can help leaders navigate, make progress, and bring people together, in the room. It’s about being honest to your self and your team, by knowing how you communicate and think, and learning how these preferences are perceived by and affect others.

During his presidency, I nearly asked a dear friend to give Obama my latest publication Reading the Room—not for publicity, though of course that could never hurt. I truly believed the two major failings keeping him from winning a re-election could be uncovered by structural dynamics. These two criticisms were the inability to come up with a cohesive and coherent narrative purpose for the American people, and second, the idealistic moral commitment to participatory democracy.

Continue reading on Great Leadership By Dan


5 Reasons Leadership Falls Flat

Buying credibility: A look at the FTC's transp...

Buying credibility: A look at the FTC’s transparency-in-blogging regulations (Photo credit: opensourceway)

You can read a dozen books on leadership and attend just as many leadership seminars, but your employees won’t follow your lead if you make any of these five common errors:

1. Trying to lead before establishing credibility.

People will only follow you if they believe that you know what you’re doing. Credibility doesn’t come from a job title or your position on the latest organization chart. Neither can it be “willed” into existence simply because you wish it were there.

Fix: Credibility, like trust, can only be earned over time. If you’ve got a track record of success, you’ll need to communicate clearly why that success is still relevant. If you’re new to the job, you’ll have to grow that credibility from scratch. Good luck!

2. Trying to lead before there’s a relationship.

Even if you’ve got a truckload of credibility, people won’t follow your lead if they don’t feel a personal connection. If you’re the manager, they may obey direct orders so as to keep their jobs, but they won’t go the proverbial “extra mile” that true leadership inspires.

Fix: The only way to build relationships is to truly care about them as individuals and frequently showing honest curiosity about them, their ideas and the work that they’re doing. This takes time, effort, and one-on-one attention.

Continue reading on…

The Dark Side of Charisma


English: DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 29JAN09 – Tony Blair, UN Middle East Quartet Representative; Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum captured during the session ‘The Values behind Market Capitalism’ at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2009. Copyright by World Economic Forum by Remy Steinegger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Most people think charisma is as vital to leadership as it is to rock stars or TV presenters and, unfortunately, they are right. In the era of multimedia politics, leadership is commonly downgraded to just another form of entertainment and charisma is indispensable for keeping the audience engaged. However, the short-term benefits of charisma are often neutralized by its long-term consequences. In fact, there are big reasons for resisting charisma:


1. Charisma dilutes judgment: There are only three ways to influence others: force, reason, or charm. Whereas force and reason are rational (even when we are “forced” to do something, we obey for a good reason) charm is not. Charm is based on emotional manipulation and, as such, it has the ability to trump any rational assessment and bias our views. Charismatic leaders influence by charm rather than reason and when they run out of charm they tend to revert to force (think Jim Jones, Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, or your favorite brutal dictator).


2. Charisma is addictive: Leaders capable of charming their followers become addicted to their love. After the initial honeymoon effect is over, they continue to crave high approval ratings, which distracts them from their actual goals. Followers, on the other hand, become addicted to the leader’s charisma, reinforcing displays of populism and perceiving unpopular decisions as deal-breakers. The result is a reciprocal dependence that encourages both parts to distort reality in order to prolong their “high.” Typically, charismatic leaders will remain deluded even after their followers have woken up. Tony Blair will forever think that the invasion of Iraq was a moral triumph, and Saddam Hussein (who relied on charisma for years) was absolutely convinced that he had served his country with dignity and integrity. But ask most people in Britain or Iraq what they think, and you will hear a very different story.


Continue reading on…



Vulnerability and Inspired Leadership

After spending the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, shame, and worthiness, I’ve come to believe that leadership has nothing to do with position, salary, or number of direct reports. I believe a leader is anyone who holds her- or himself accountable for finding potential in people and processes.


Contrary to how we traditionally think about organizations, leaders are developing strategies and shaping culture across all levels.  And, contrary to the myth of the “all-knowing-all-powerful” leader, inspired leadership requires vulnerability: Do we have the courage to show up, be seen, take risks, ask for help, own our mistakes, learn from failure, lean into joy, and can we support the people around us in doing the same?


In our culture, vulnerability has become synonymous with weakness. We associate vulnerability with emotions like fear, shame, and scarcity; emotions that we don’t want to discuss, even when they profoundly affect the way we live, love, parent, and lead.


Across the private and public sector, in schools and in our communities, we are hungry for authentic leadership – we want to show up, we want to learn, and we want to inspire and be inspired. We are hardwired for connection, curiosity, and engagement.


Continue reading on Impatient Optimists…


Symbol for copy & paste problem on the English...

Symbol for copy & paste problem on the English Wikipedia. Made from 2 images from the OpenClipart Library & own work from English Wikipedia Graphics Lab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)