Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tips On How To Deal With Stress

We have all encountered different types of frustrating situations: a boss who stifles our creativity or who gives us work to do and never thinks to ask us about it;a colleague who has absolutely no interest in details and who consequently puts an entire project at risk; an employee whose rigid approach to doing things by the book is actually harming relationships with our clients.
there are actually two aspects to this kind of problem: one that is easy to recognize and one we'd rather pretend doesn't exist. The first involves the personality weaknesses and differences of our fellow workers, our bosses, and our customers. The other, far less pleasant to acknowledge but even more crucial, involves our own personality weaknesses. Ironically, most of our weaknesses involve strengths taken to an extreme, i.e. using too much power to deal with a situation.
One of the keys to getting along with others and thereby minimizing personality-related stress in the workplace involves sharpening or honing our own strengths while faining a better understanding of the strengths of others. This means being able to observe and understand different personality types. For example, powerful or dominant individuals motivated by control issues may tend to view having to submit to someone else's authority as a loss of control. This could lead to a major confrontation or even a breakdown in communication. Furthermore, individuals of this type seldom handle boring routine well; they typically prefer well-defined goals and stretching challenges.
Whenever powerful people need to be confronted - and sometimes confrontation is necessary - the best approach is to " show them how their actions affect you" and underscore mutually beneficial goals. In addition, they appreciate bottom-line communication. They are not interested in a wealth of detail; instead, they prefer to "get to the point". On the other hand a perfectionist or steady person typically raises many questions and wants to know the answers to individual details. Under stress this person needs reassurance, order, and structure. Such individuals may take a pessimistic, even hopeless, view of things, and that can be extremely frustrating to the more positive, popular type and even the goal-oriented, powerful personality.
Personalities that don't like change are the compliant or peaceful type. They find security in the status-quo and need time to adjust to changes. They also need to identify with a group, and they prefer harmony to conflict or dissension. Whereas powerful individuals often thrive on conflict and seem to go out of their way to produce it, compliant or peaceful individuals usually avoid conflict at all costs.
Perhaps the one area where personality differences create the most chaos is with the boss. According to a survey done by Julie Lopez three-Fourth of all the managerial staff she surveyed had trouble with their bosses. They felt their bosses didn't understand them and that they all had personality problems. She divided bosses into four categories that showed remarkable similarity to the four major personality types.
Her first category, the incompetent boss, talks on the phone all day and doesn't know how to get thins done. In order to get along with these type managers, employees should try to help the boss do his/her work as well as work at making her look good.
The second category, the workaholic boss, resembles the powerful lion. This kind of boss often treats employees like slaves and expects everyone to work the same kind of incredible hours he does. Do it the boss's way, but don't let yourself be bullied into unreasonable demands.
The phantom boss, similar to the steady, perfectionist beaver, likes to stay out of the action and communicate by detailed, written memos. Getting along with this kind of boss is to communicate back in writing, making sure to enumerate all your accomplishments.
The fourth category, the wimp, resembles the peaceful, compliant golden retriever. This is the boss "who can't take charge, tries to avoid conflict, and becomes paralyzed when faced with a decision. Subordinates need to boost his/her confidence, while feeding him/her information he can use to make decisions.
These are the two main areas in the workplace that cause most of the stress we feel. The other environmental aspects are not as persistent and their impact is not greater than these two. However, we need to exert the required of effort to analyze the internal environment of the workplace and becoming alert and agile in perceiving the changes that happen around us if we want to diffuse the "stress bombs" that keep coming our way, sometimes unexpectedly.

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