Most of us have experienced the feeling of wanting to scream at the top of our lungs when stressed at the office. It can happen when a meeting has been pushed up a few hours (and you're still not prepared) or your boss decides to dump more work on your desk. While we don't have control over those stressors, we can work to control our reaction to help manage stress for our own good and for the good of our workplace.
"Not every stressful situation will initiate the same response," says Lyle Cameron, leadership effectiveness expert and president of Quotient Factor Inc. "But, generally, our reactions will either fall into the fight or flight category. Unfortunately, those reactions can heighten stress and become part of a stress-inducing cycle that never gets resolved." But by knowing and understanding your style under stress, you start making positive changes.
The work style pendulum
To help determine your work style under stress, here are 14 statements that require your "yes" or "no" response. When you're done, the pendulum will tell you if you swing towards flight or a fight during a stress situation.
|Does this sound like you?||Yes||No|
|You don't return phone calls, emails or texts because you don't want to deal with the co-worker who sent them.|
|When losing control of a conversation, you interrupt co-workers so that you can bring the conversation back to where you think it should be.|
|If you're having a problem with a co-worker, you avoid contact with them.|
|You wait for "just the right time" to have a difficult conversation with someone.|
|You exaggerate your arguments to get your points across. (For example, you may inflate a statistic to make your view sound correct.)|
|When a co-worker's comment catches you off guard, you make forceful, seemingly attacking remarks.|
|You don't give your opinion when dealing with stressful subjects.|
|You change the subject when a touchy topic comes up.|
|You don't hesitate to tell a co-worker they said something or did something you think is stupid or silly.|
|You usually soften tough news or subjects by using weak or insincere compliments.|
|During a heated discussion, you get tough with other co-workers to make them see your point.|
|During a heated discussion, you use arguments or make points that may insult or hurt a co-worker.|
|When frustrated, you use jokes, sarcasm or inappropriate remarks rather than say what you really think.|
|You would rather resolve issues one way or another rather than have them linger.|
Use these links to find more tips and information about work and stress:
- Audio: Inhale. Exhale. Breathe!
- Video: The 5-minute stress buster
- Stress-busting tactics for any workplace
- Audio: Simple meditation
- Interactive quiz: The stress scale
- Dealing with a stress-inducing co-worker
- 5 keys to unlock difficult conversations
- Balance the chaos
- 7 tips to boost your mood by getting physical