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Managing and managing people
Managing and managing people

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8.2 Symptoms of stress

It is common for managers to seek work or responsibilities even though they know this will increase the pressure on them. The stimulus of responsibility, of achieving work or personal targets, and of working against deadlines provides much of the interest and satisfaction in their work. However, this pressure can become counter-productive if it is excessive – if you no longer feel in control and if the satisfaction of achievement fails to compensate for the stress of delivering the outcomes. At this stage you need to be able to identify the cause of the excess pressure and take measures to correct it. Your objective must be to maintain a level of pressure that you find stimulating and not threatening.

Symptoms of stress include being too busy or working longer hours, insecurity, an unwillingness to delegate, loss of motivation and indecision. Work performance may decline or become inconsistent. Other symptoms may include irritability and short temper, panic reactions, heavy reliance on tobacco, alcohol or drugs such as tranquillisers. All can be signs of other problems, but their presence should make you suspect stress.

Once you are aware of the causes of unproductive pressure, you are in a position to address the problem.