Archive for the 'Stress Management' Category

If You are Bullied at Work

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

In the past couple of articles we’ve looked at how to deal with bullying in a team you lead or the workplace where you are in charge.

What about if you are the one being bullied? If your boss, or even a colleague is bullying you, how should you handle that situation?

Just as you need to have no tolerance for bullying within a team you lead, if you are the one being bullied, at some point you will need to stand up for yourself in the face of bullying.

Remember, any bullying or harassment in the workplace is unacceptable and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Everyone, including you, has a right to feel safe at work and to be treated with respect.

However it is important to resist the urge to try to ‘get back’ at the bully or lower yourself to their tactics in your response.

Exactly how you respond in a situation will depend on the specific context. If you find yourself being publicly bullied or harassed your response may need to be different to a situation where you face secret threats or manipulation.

Either way it is a good idea to prepare yourself before you respond so you can be strong enough to be calm and assertive in your response, no matter how loud and abusive the bully might be. If you become angry and aggressive or ‘fight’ back it will not help in the long term and the bully may even be able to convince others that the problem is all your fault.

So hold your ground. Stay calm. Interrupt a verbal tirade by saying that you both want what’s best. Simply showing that you can be brave in the face of a stream of abuse can help deflect a bully. Often, the bully singles out targets who avoid any conflict since they know that they’ll be more likely to get their way.

A powerful way to interrupt a bully is to say their name. Look into their eyes, speak in a strong clear and firm voice, and repeat their name until they stop talking.

Then take control by asking short questions. Ask short direct clarifying questions and keep asking them until the bully begins to calm down. Don’t get into a discussion, just ask further clarifying questions to show you are trying to really understand what has upset them.

Asking questions can be effective in a variety of different situations, including attacks in front of coworkers, private confrontations or in meetings so it is worthwhile learning this technique.

Concentrate on maintaining a calm appearance – no matter how you are really feeling inside. The louder and more out-of-control the bully is, the calmer you need to appear to be in contrast to them.

Paraphrasing the bully’s responses, deferring the discussion until later when things are more measured or others will be present, even gentle humor – particularly if you can laugh at yourself – can all help to defuse a situation.

However you respond, bullying is serious and needs to be addressed. If you can’t handle it on your own, you need to bring in someone to support you in dealing with it. This can obviously be difficult if the bully is the person you report to. When that is the case you may need to look to other parts of your organization (possibly someone in Human resources or your boss’s boss?) or an external Coach or Mentor to help you to tackle the situation.

At some point you may even decide the bullying is not worth your energy in trying to deal with it and you would rather move on. Should that situation arise, take care to never burn your bridges. If you can’t take any more and can’t get help, you can make your exit but be sure to keep your dignity intact.

If you do decide you must leave your position because of bullying, try to make the decision to leave outside of the emotional realm. When you hand in your notice, do so later, with a cool head, not brimming with rants or fuming about the unfair treatment you got from someone. Remember, you may need those people to vouch for you at some time in the future.

When you do it this way, you get to enjoy a better sense of control. You will reach greater heights of success if you manage to hold your head up high and always maintain your dignity.

Finally if you do find yourself needing to deal with bullying or harassment, make sure you care for yourself, manage your stress levels, maintain a balanced perspective and keep your sense of humor. Take the time to feel good about yourself and stay grateful for what you’ve been blessed with. Remind yourself that as long as you’re doing what’s right, you’ll be fine.

Dealing with a bully can be stressful. For powerful stress management techniques check out the Stress Free Course now at: http://kmginfo.com/go/stressfree – completely free: My gift for you.

How to Respond to Workplace Bullying

Friday, July 16th, 2010

In my previous article we looked at what does and does not constitute bullying or harassment in the workplace. Today I want to look at how you should respond as team leader if it occurs in your workplace.

So how should you tackle bullying if you detect it or suspect it is happening in a team that you are responsible for?

Any bullying or harassment in the workplace is unacceptable and needs to be addressed immediately. Everyone has a right to feel safe at work and to be treated with respect.

You should never ignore bullying or hope it will just go away. If anyone reports, or if you witness or suspect, an incident that could be bullying, you must respond rapidly. Otherwise, your silence is perceived by the perpetrator and others as collusion in what is happening.

If you are in a leadership role, and you observe any indications that bullying or harassment might be occurring, you have a responsibility to stand up and show that you will not tolerate such actions from anyone in your team or elsewhere.

Listen to all team members and encourage them to work together cooperatively on solutions to the real problems they are experiencing. Use individual coaching to help individuals modify their behavior and motivate them to be productive team members. See details about how to do this here: http://kmginfo.com/go/workplace-motivation

Just as some people bring out your best, and other people bring out your worst, you can bring out the best in other people even at their worst. It’s a matter of understanding where they are coming from and what is likely to work with them.

As with most team-related issues, the best way to address a bullying problem will depend on the specific situation, but a sound first step is usually to begin a conversation around the behaviors you have observed, compared to what you expect.

Facilitate an open conversation with your team members about team values like trust, respect and how they relate to working together in a team. This can be a powerful and helpful start to addressing the situation.

By securing team agreement about how your team members will treat each other going forward, you will both minimize the likelihood of the situation being repeated and ensure that in future no one can say they didn’t know bullying or harassing actions might be unacceptable.

Take particular care not to allow the bullying victim to be targeted personally during your discussions. Focus on acceptable and unacceptable actions and behaviors, not on individuals, personalities, or character traits. Stay calm but make it quite clear, as firmly and often as seems to be required, that bullying or harassment are not acceptable in any circumstances and will not be tolerated.

If your organization has a formal code of practice or ethics, a corporate values statement or a relevant workplace policy you might discuss how it applies. If such codes or policies do not yet exist, now might be a good time to begin to develop one, at least within your team.

If you don’t feel able to do this, bring in an external facilitator to help you.

Handling such a situation well can even build a stronger team – the sort of team with a positive commitment to positive shared values, that works together to achieve your vision and goals, and that is the hallmark of a good leader.

For details about how to coach individuals to better behavior see here: http://kmginfo.com/go/workplace-motivation

And watch out for my next article where we’ll look at what you can do if you are the one being bullied.

Dealing with Bullying at Work

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

One of the most toxic additions to any workplace is the bully. If you work with (or for) a bully, or one of the people on the team you lead may be a bully it is important to handle the situation carefully yet assertively.

In this series of articles I want to share some tips for how to deal with workplace bullying successfully.

First let’s look at what is bullying or harassment?

A bully abuses any power they have over less powerful people. You will often feel oppressed, humiliated, weak, and belittled after talking to a bully. In addition, you will typically feel worse about yourself. At the same time you may feel obliged to laugh at the comments that are being made about you or to you, even thought they are hurtful or not true.

A bully may be someone who consistently dishes out venomous personal remarks, who takes delight in ruining your day with seemingly harmless yet cutting statements, who takes credit for your work, constantly threatens you with dismissal or demotion, or who is simply rude, aggressive, and pushy. The bully often leaves people feeling threatened and demeaned.

Bullying and harassment might be:

  • physical (being hit, bumped, tripped, pinched),
  • verbal (humiliation, name-calling, teasing, putdowns),
  • psychological (intimidation, sabotage, coercion, manipulation, threats, gestures, being watched or stalked),
  • social (embarrassment, smear campaigns, being ignored or having rumors spread about you)
  • or sexual (physical, verbal or nonverbal sexual conduct).

Bullying and harassment often happens out of sight of other authorities, leaders or managers and is typically repeated over an extended time.

However not everyone who displays these sorts of behaviors is a workplace bully. An isolated incident doesn’t equate to bullying.

Just because someone tells you they don’t like something you did or didn’t do, or you don’t like the way they communicate with you doesn’t make them a bully.

Even if someone yells at you in frustration it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bully. It may just mean they lack the emotional maturity to express themselves more professionally or they tend to overreact to a stressful situation. Goodhearted people can make mistakes. While issues like these still need to be addressed, they aren’t as corrosive to your workplace culture as bullying or harassment can be.

A bully, on the other hand, intends to intimidate, dominate and disempower and they do it consistently and repeatedly.

The negative effects of bullying and harassment are well known and definitely serious.

Bullying frequently leads to significant effects on work performance, illness, absenteeism and low team morale. In extreme cases post traumatic stress disorder and even suicide have occured.

Bullying can’t be ignored or overlooked. If you are a manager, team leader or business owner, you have at least a moral (and in many places a legal) obligation to ensure your workplace is free from bullying or harassment.

In a few days time we’ll look at how you should tackle bullying when it is happening in your team or workplace…

Meanwhile have a look at some of these Stress and Productivity Resources:

http://kmginfo.com/go/stress-productivity

Leaders under stress

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Last week I was fortunate enough to have a few days break after a conference on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast. We caught up with family and friends we hadn’t seen for some time and I’m returning to work today feeling very relaxed.

Then I looked at my diary and I realised that another month is almost gone. I have so many things to do before the end of the month and my stress levels start to rise just a little, before I even have to handle anything unexpected, difficult or challenging…

It got me thinking. Stress is such a part of any leadership or management role it’s easy to forget what a stress free life can be like. But the question is, is that a bad thing?

There’s no doubt that a bit of stress helps us to function at a higher, or more intense level and therefore get more done than usual. I certainly got more done the day before I left for my conference and short break than I would have, if I had not been under the pressure of a deadline.

Planes just don’t wait for us to finish one more thing, do they?

And there probably wouldn’t be any need for the management or leadership role in organisations, if there weren’t the sort of problems and challenges that can lead to stress.

But there’s also no doubt that higher and higher stress levels can be unhealthy, unsustainable and unproductive – and that’s what too many leaders and managers struggle with, every day at work.

Being told day in and day out to do more and more with less and less is undoubtedly stressful.

If that’s your reality, I know it won’t help to tell you to “relax and take a holiday”. Much as you might want to and know you really should, I know it’s not always possible – especially when you are most stressed.

Yet you and I both know that you owe it to the people on your team to know how to manage your stress levels so you are productive rather than stressed out of control. If you allow your stress to get out of control you’ll begin to miss deadlines, forget critical things and struggle to cope with anything unexpected. In fact your productivity will drop.

So what can you do? Well, there is plenty you can do to effectively manage your stress levels and help your team members to do the same. Here are three quick tips to help:

* First, make sure you are quite clear on whether and why tasks really need to be done. As we are asked to do new things, it is important to constantly take the time to check whether the old tasks we are used to doing really still need to be done. Sometimes we cling to old tasks (maybe we are confident doing them or just enjoy doing them) even though they are no longer really required. If a task no longer needs to be done, or it can be done annually instead of monthly for example, that can free up significant amounts of time and reduce stress on everyone.

* Second, even if you can’t take a whole week’s break, you can take a brief break to do something you enjoy. Walk around the block to clear your head. Take 20 minutes to listen to some music you enjoy. Enrol in a weekly exercise or stretch class. Take up painting or gardening. Borrow a neighbor’s dog and take it for a walk. In other words, doing something different for a short time can work magic in reducing your stress levels.

* Third, make sure you really understand what stress is, how the different types of stress impact on performance and how to manage it yourself and for your people. Keep yourself motivated and don’t make doing tasks more stressful by procrastinating. These resources will help you to manage your stress and be more productive: Less Stress and Better Productivity

Leaders who understand and work well with stress make better leaders. That link for some really helpful resources is:
http://kmgsupport.com/2/61yn/order
Check them out now.

How to Relieve Stress

Monday, August 10th, 2009
Today I thought I’d share some tips with you to help you celebrate Lifeline’s Stress Down Day. If you find them helpful you might like to make a donation to Lifeline at http://www.stressdown.org.au/ and forward this on to anyone else who may find it helpful.
Stress can have a number of adverse affects on your health, both short-term and long-term.
If you’re experiencing some of the following symptoms, it could indicate that you could benefit from some advice on how to relieve stress before your health suffers any worse than it already has.  Feelings of anger, fear or helplessness are common indicators of stress, as is insomnia.  Stress can cause headaches and pain in the jaw, neck and back.  Habitual smoking, drinking, overeating and drug abuse may also be caused by stress.
Stress is how your body responds to change.  And situations that cause stress in one person may not cause stress in another.  It’s a very individual experience.
One person may become tense when driving over high bridges, while another may enjoy the view.  The thought of skydiving terrifies some people, but others find it thrilling.
It’s nearly impossible to classify any particular situation as stressful, because what causes stress in one person could be a source of enjoyment for the next.  The key is to identify and manage what is stressful for you personally, because letting stress go unmanaged can have life-threatening health consequences.
Things you feel that you have no control over can be upsetting.  But remember it’s not the situation, but how you deal with it that’s important.  You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can choose how you handle stressful situations.
For practical tools and useful ideas on how to handle stress effectively have a look at my Stress-Free Course at http://stressfreecourse.com/ – my gift to you today at no cost!
Meanwhile, here are some quick tips for relieving your stress:
* Focus on your breathing and breathe slow, deep and deliberately.  Picture a peaceful scene in your mind.
* Exercise regularly.  Exercising releases tension from your body.  Find something you enjoy that gets the major muscle groups going.  Jogging, walking, swimming or bicycling are all excellent choices.
* Count to ten slowly and deliberately.  This helps you to pause and relax before reacting to a stressful situation.
* Do some stretching exercises several times during the day.  Stretching relaxes the muscles and reduces tension.
* Have a friend massage the back of your neck, shoulders and upper back.  These muscles get especially tense when you are stressed.
* Take hot showers and baths.
* Listen to relaxing music.
* Talk to your family and friends about what is causing you stress.
Seek help when you need it.  If you have recurring headaches and neck or upper back pain, and are having problems sleeping, you should see your doctor.
Stress is a normal part of working life, so it is important to learn how to manage it.
Learning how to relieve stress, and putting these methods to use are critical your overall health and happiness.  Try to learn to accept what you can’t change.  Not everything is going to happen the way you want it to – and not everything will turn out to be as bad as we sometimes imagine it might be.  Train yourself to look for the good in what appears to be a bad situation, talk to others about your troubles, and try to mentally remove yourself from the situation then evaluate it from the outside looking in.
For some really practical information on how to manage stress you might like to join my Stress-Free Course at http://stressfreecourse.com/ – my gift to you today absolutely free!
Kind regards
Kerrie
PS  Watch out soon for some big things happening in the Leadership Coaching Club  http://leadershipcoachingclub.com

I recently shared some tips on how to relieve stress with subscribers of my Leading Well newsletter in honour of Lifeline’s Stress Down Day. (If you find them helpful you might like to make a donation to Lifeline at http://www.stressdown.org.au/ and forward this on to anyone else who may find it helpful.)

Stress can have a number of adverse affects on your health, both short-term and long-term.

If you’re experiencing some of the following symptoms, it could indicate that you could benefit from some advice on how to relieve stress before your health suffers any worse than it already has.  Feelings of anger, fear or helplessness are common indicators of stress, as is insomnia.  Stress can cause headaches and pain in the jaw, neck and back.  Habitual smoking, drinking, overeating and drug abuse may also be caused by stress.

Stress is how your body responds to change.  And situations that cause stress in one person may not cause stress in another.  It’s a very individual experience.

One person may become tense when driving over high bridges, while another may enjoy the view.  The thought of skydiving terrifies some people, but others find it thrilling.

It’s nearly impossible to classify any particular situation as stressful, because what causes stress in one person could be a source of enjoyment for the next.  The key is to identify and manage what is stressful for you personally, because letting stress go unmanaged can have life-threatening health consequences.

Things you feel that you have no control over can be upsetting.  But remember it’s not the situation, but how you deal with it that’s important.  You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can choose how you handle stressful situations.

For practical tools and useful ideas on how to handle stress effectively have a look at my Stress-Free Course at http://stressfreecourse.com/ – my gift to you today at no cost!

Meanwhile, here are some quick tips for relieving your stress:

* Focus on your breathing and breathe slow, deep and deliberately.  Picture a peaceful scene in your mind.

* Exercise regularly.  Exercising releases tension from your body.  Find something you enjoy that gets the major muscle groups going.  Jogging, walking, swimming or bicycling are all excellent choices.

* Count to ten slowly and deliberately.  This helps you to pause and relax before reacting to a stressful situation.

* Do some stretching exercises several times during the day.  Stretching relaxes the muscles and reduces tension.

* Have a friend massage the back of your neck, shoulders and upper back.  These muscles get especially tense when you are stressed.

* Take hot showers and baths.

* Listen to relaxing music.

* Talk to your family and friends about what is causing you stress.

Seek help when you need it.  If you have recurring headaches and neck or upper back pain, and are having problems sleeping, you should see your doctor.

Stress is a normal part of working life, so it is important to learn how to manage it.

Learning how to relieve stress, and putting these methods to use are critical your overall health and happiness.  Try to learn to accept what you can’t change.  Not everything is going to happen the way you want it to – and not everything will turn out to be as bad as we sometimes imagine it might be.  Train yourself to look for the good in what appears to be a bad situation, talk to others about your troubles, and try to mentally remove yourself from the situation then evaluate it from the outside looking in.

For some really practical information on how to manage stress you might like to join my Stress-Free Course at http://stressfreecourse.com/ – my gift to you today absolutely free!

Do you have a favourite tips for relieving stress to share with other readers?  Please share it by posting a comment below.

Beating Stress at Work

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Thank you for your kind comments about our Stress Free Course at http://StressFreeCourse.com – If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s still available – at no cost to you as a subscriber of Leading Well.

Once you do sign up, remember you must “Confirm your request for information” to receive the course. (This helps to protect you from someone else using your email address.) All you have to do is click the link in the confirmation message that I sent to you – Don’t skip this step or you will miss out on your information.

In this issue of Leading Well I’ll share one of the best techniques to instantly relieve stress at work. For more great ideas on how to overcome the stress of leading and managing people head on over to http://StressFreeCourse.com and claim your free course.

Kind regards, Kerrie

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Beating Stress at Work

Nobody enjoys it when stress gets out of hand at work. In fact unreasonable stress can be one of the main reasons why good staff move on to other jobs. If it’s you that’s under pressure from stress in your workplace you need to know how to relieve stress effectively before you snap – or snap someone’s head off!

After practicing this, you should be able to not only avoid making a stressful work environment worse, but also handle the stressful situations that do arise more effectively.

Your best “instant” technique for relieving stress as soon as it strikes you while you are at work is conscious slow breathing. It can be done without leaving your office or desk, it is easy to learn and it can have almost immediate effects.

All you need to do is to breathe deeply and slowly, so that you are totally focused on your breath and nothing else. Focus on how you breathe in and out, slowly and deliberately. When you do it well, your concerns and tension will disappear after just a few breaths and you will be calmer and more able to deal with the challenges you are facing.

This breathing exercise can also be helpful at other times too, but you will find it instantly eases your tension if the situation is stressful. And you really can practice it easily while you are at work.

More on how to be stress free below:

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QUOTE OF NOTE

“Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.”

Natalie Goldberg

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The Leading Well Bottom Line

Stress is a central part of the life of every manager and leader and how well you manage stress has a huge impact on your own life, your family’s happiness and the success of your team.

When you can manage stress effectively, not only will you enjoy your life and your role more, you will be able to ‘take charge’ and lead people through situations that others find distressing or even confronting.

Our latest publication from the Leadership Skill Center is ‘Managing Stress – How to Break Free from a Stressful Life‘. In this 50-plus page ebook you will learn:
* What is stress and how it can manifest itself in your life
* How to identify all the stressors in your life
* The right – and wrong – ways to react to stress and control it’s impact
* How to break free from a stressful life.

For more details visit: http://leadershipskillcenter.com/products/

And don’t forget to claim your Be Stress Free Course today at http://StressFreeCourse.com

The secret to less stress … free for you!

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Today I want to look at one of the key challenges I hear about, from Leaders and Managers, all the time.Whether I am speaking at a conference, consulting to organizations or coaching leaders, either one-on-one or through the Leadership Coaching Club, what I hear about is – Stress!

Stress is a huge part of the life of every manager and leader and how well you manage stress has a dramatic impact on your own life, your family’s happiness and the success of your team.

When you can manage stress effectively, not only will you enjoy your life and your role more, you will be able to ‘take charge’ and lead people through situations that others find distressing or even confronting.

If you can’t cope with the stress, you will struggle to do your job at all, let alone well.

Because it is such a huge issue for so many people I have put together the ‘Be Stress Free’ course to share with you how to get stress under control in your life.

It’s packed with useful ideas, practical tips, bonus ebooks and other resources to help you break free from the tyranny of stress.

It really is $97 in value – and I may well start to charge that for it soon – but if you sign up today it will always remain free for you.

Grab it here now, before I change my mind: http://stressfreecourse.com

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If you want more personal assistance than a course, you should consider the Leadership Coaching Club where you will find substantial assistance to manage all aspects of your role as a leader. http://leadershipcoachingclub.com

If you are already a member, don’t forget to visit to see all the new material that has been added recently. Here are some of them:

  • The Four Hour Work Week
  • Achieving Great Results
  • Quick and Easy Tips for Reducing Stress
  • Becoming and Innovator
  • Involving People in Change… and much more…

If you are a member you can login in to the Leadership Coaching Club at http://leadershipcoachingclub.com/members/ using your email address and member’s password.

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PRIVATE COACHING

And finally, I currently have a couple of openings for private one-on-one coaching.

I only ever work with a very small number of senior and high potential candidates at any one time, and rarely promote my Executive and Leadership Coaching Services, as the limited places tend to fill up automatically from the waiting list or through requests for me to work with someone else in the same organization.

But, as people finish the programs we design, vacancies can arise and currently I can accept a couple more people. So if you would like to work with me personally, one-on-one in my private leadership coaching program, you might like to Contact Us asking for more details.

Coaching is typically done by phone or Skype, with email and state-of-the-art online facilities for support, making it available to candidates located in a wide range of locations.

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That’s all for now, but don’t forget to claim your copy of the “Be Stress Free” course now at http://stressfreecourse.com and Contact Us for more details about my private coaching if you are interested.