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Executive Stress

The twentieth century American poet, Delmore Schwartz’s thought that ‘Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn’ proves to be quite true in the fast growing economy that is India today. Excessive pressure to complete the job within a prescribed deadline “burns” one. The choice of whether to accept the situation or to fight against these stressors depends on the individual.

Causes for executive stress.

A certain amount of stress is seen on every individual. Stress is positive when it motivates one to put in his best efforts to achieve his goals in life, provided it is realistic. Overexertion, on the other hand, can play havoc to one’s physical and mental well being.

Excessive workload and the work culture can be stated as a cause. Trying to cope with the fast pace of life and economy can create a pressurized environment. Today’s work culture is such that people spend practically all their conscious and productive hours in the office. Long working hours combined with a demanding customer, subordinates and supervisors alike makes up the killer concoction most of the executives have in daily dose today – work stress. Continuous stress is a matter of grave concern, as, an executive is only as good as her health.

Steps to overcome the executive stress.

According to a study by WHO half of the Indian population suffers from anxiety, 60% have stress related backaches, and “an unhealthy large percentage” suffers from chronic exhaustion, sleep, memory and other stress-related disorders. The cause and effects, and measures to overcome them are therefore taken into study by the companies.

It is critical for the individual to maintain the ability to think, and for a company to have an effective staff. Thus, measures to overcome the stress should be taken by the company as well as the individual. Self assessment helps to understand ones strengths and limitations, and thus set realistic goals. It helps to understand body’s reaction to various stressors and this helps to take measures to eliminate or overcome the impact.

The work related stress can be met by prioritizing the work. Work must be organized in such a way that the crucial work is done when one is at his best. Proper delegation of work and decision making can act as a stress buster. Avoid unproductive meetings and send subordinates which do not require one’s presence. A proper filing system helps in saving time. In this context, a highly recommended reading on time management and effectiveness, would be, Stephen Covey’s book – “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Whats more important than reading is to practice the lessons taught by “Seven Habbits…”

While, meditation, relaxation and regular exercise are essential ingredients to fight stress, focusing on things that can be changed and accept those which are beyond are limits too help in reducing stress. One should always provide room for contingencies while managing one’s time.

With studies showing an alarming rate of stressed people, the general outlook of the companies has changed. Steps to improve the general well being of the employees are on the increase each day.

Many have recreational facilities within the campus which focus on the indoor and outdoor games to improve the physical health of the employees. Team building activities like outings and treks are very popular amongst Indian companies. Annual day celebrations, family gatherings all contribute to a better relationship between the company and its workforce.

Programs to enhance the communication skills, personal skills and the general outlook to life are conducted by experts. Companies like Wipro have “open house” where the workforce comes in contact with the management. Their fears, doubts and suggestions are expressed, and helps in building the company strategy.

To meet the “traffic-related” stress, companies provide office transportation. The buses shuttle at frequent intervals in the city and between different offices of the company. This is seen as a boon by many.

Stress is a part of life. Ones success depends on identifying the stressors and taking measures to reduce or eliminate their negative on our life. A thought provoking statement by Dr. Covey summarizes the need for stress management very effectively: “When was the last time you were so busy driving your car that you never had time to refuel?”

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