Flattened organizations. Doing more with less. Smaller budgets. Automated workplaces. 24/7 e-mails. Toxic work environments. Massive layoffs and mergers. Is it any wonder workers feel stressed and frazzled?
A 2016 recent study in Personnel Psychology noted an increase in workplace stress shows clear negative consequences on the body and mind. While the study recommends reducing workplace stress by providing employees with more opportunities to manage themselves autonomously, there is in fact another, more vital method for managers and workers to relieve pressure: developing resilience and flexibility.
Instead of succumbing to pressure, the key is for teams and employers to stay focused on the task at hand and mindful of the work. Instead of becoming a slave to demands, the resilient mindset steps back and declares, “This scenario can be managed.”
Two experts in workplace resiliency – Dr. Derek Roger, director of the Work Skills Centre Ltd., and Nick Petrie of The Center for Creative Leadership – have penned WORK WITHOUT STRESS: Building a Resilient Mindset for Lasting Success (McGraw-Hill Professional; HC, $38.95; November 2016). Designed to equip readers with the ability to negotiate those unseen rapids ahead – however exhilarating or terrifying they may be – the book instructs on how to keep perspective even as the stuff hits the fan.
They note that stress is never good for you. (There’s a reason it feels lousy.) They believe that employees are responding to the sensation of Pressure and turning it into Stress. Here’s how:
Pressure is just “a demand to perform,” which we all deal with daily, but once you start ruminating negatively on your pressure – mentally dwelling and churning over your undone to-do list, that botched outcome, the person that wronged you, playing and replaying scenarios in your mind – it amps up your fight v. flight response and releases a surge of adrenaline. Absolutely nothing in the world has changed, except that now your ruminating thoughts have created Stress.
The difference between the two is having a sense of Resilience. Reflection, attention, and detachment are skills that managers can teach their teams when the going gets tough. And individuals can then shoulder that sense of flexibility that can minimize emotional upsets and help them better manage deadlines, workloads, disappointments, even outright failures, with drive, motivation, enthusiasm, and sense of purpose intact.
Stuff happens. Misery is optional. WORK WITHOUT STRESS teaches:
- Eight personal habits that compromise resiliency and how to change behavior
- How to stay focused on what’s happening right now v. ruminating negatively on “What if, if only.”
- Training yourself and your team to shift from ruminating to action
- Why the authors reference Luke Skywalker in Star Wars (“What if I miss? I only have two bombs!”)
- How mindful communication skills can increase an individual’s ability to be flexible and change
- “Bend, Don’t Break.” How this adage about adaptation can decrease your anxiety about change
The research evidence that informs this book has been transformed into simple, easily understood principles, based on the need to wake up and control attention, to adopt a more detached perspective, and to let go of ruminative thoughts. If you use these principles to guide how you respond to the inevitable changes that life brings you, you can be free of stress!
About the Authors:
Derek Roger, PhD, is a psychologist who has spent 30 years researching the causes and effects of stress. He was the founder of the Stress Research Unit at the University of York, and is director of the training consultancy Work Skills Centre Ltd. His original research findings challenged conventional ideas about stress and resilience and led to the creation of the Challenge of Change Resilience Training™ program. Roger has authored more than 100 articles in the scientific press.
Nick Petrie is a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). He works with CEOs and their teams to create resilience strategies for their organizations, particularly in periods of significant change. He is the lead researcher and co-creator of CCL’s Change Equation which shows leaders how to lead change in ways that minimize stress and maximize results. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University.
For review copies, publicity or to arrange interviews, please contact Lynda Walthert, firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-430-5116.