Feeling stressed out right about now? To deal with stress, you first must understand where it comes from. The American Management Association identifies three basic types of stress:
1.) Individually oriented stress
2.) Interpersonally oriented stress
3.) Organizationally oriented stress
Let’s break down each of these stress types and explore where and how they originate.
1. Individually Oriented Stress
Face it, most of us create our own stress. It is internal, and very often one of the most challenging types of stress to overcome. Some symptoms of individually oriented stress include:
- Fear of failure
- Self-set deadlines
- Long hours
- Unrealistic expectations of self, career or goals
- An overwhelming sense of personal responsibility
- A self-perceived lack of self-control, personal support or feedback
You are your own toughest critic. As with most things, balance is a significant consideration. You want to take initiative and push yourself, but not to the detriment of your health or well being. (Go ahead: Ask me how I know.)
2. Interpersonally Oriented Stress
When people feel unappreciated or misunderstood by superiors, peers or subordinates, hard feelings take root. Stress also can occur when people believe their colleagues aren’t performing up to par. Open communication works best when battling this type of stress.
I believe no one intentionally shows up at work and says, “Man, I’m going to mess up today!” Most people really want to do a good job. If, in fact, you have an employee who is constantly forgetting to provide the follow-up support necessary to close deals, take the time to show that individual what needs to be done and why. Just don’t berate him.
3. Organizationally Oriented Stress
Employers can create stress in the following ways:
- Providing unrealistic demands
- Placing too much emphasis on competition
- Setting unclear job requirements
- Not giving enough credit for accomplishments
- Failing to follow through on expected promotions
- Providing little information about career paths
- Allowing workplace politics to fester
- Avoiding participation in decision making
- Creating poor work conditions
Managers can easily fall into what I call the “insatiable more” complex, meaning they always demand more and more in terms of business performance. This often can be an exercise in futility, because of all the variables impacting your business.