Tag Archives: mangement

RECOGNISING FACTORS OF STRESS

what do you want me to do
I have been very humbled by the comments and emails I have received about my Blog about stress and its challenges. There is one overriding theme through these communications. How does a person realise they are stressed or not? Remember stress is an essential part of Humans functionality. This part is good as a reasonable level of stress does work for us, not against us.

However when these levels get too much, our minds go into overwhelm. This in itself creates what some might call ‘irrational behaviour’. This may not be recognised by the individual concerned. It is easy to say – recognise and deal with it – not so easy when you are immersed in it.

Apart from the obvious indicators or stress such as , levels of low energy, irritation with others, anger about stuff in general, possibly leading to a withdrawal into a ‘personal world’ almost cutting yourself off from others both and work and socially. We all have what I describe as trigger points that will spark a reaction from this person. These trigger points vary from person to person as each set of circumstances are different. Here is a small list of what for some are those trigger points. Have a look at these and read them with an open mind. Some of them may strike a chord with you, a co-worker or close friend. As we all know stress can and does have very serious effects on a person’s quality of life – and life itself.

Alcohol/Tobacco
In my experience as a Coach, I have come across some people who call for a drink on the way home from work. However in some circumstances one drink will lead to two and maybe more. This person might then end up in court on a drink driving charge, involved in an accident hurting themselves or another innocent person. In fact they might have another drink when they get home.
The same thoughts apply to smoking. There are some people who ‘eat’ cigarettes; they go through 2 or 3 packs a day. Not only is it expensive, and they are damaging their health as well. The alcohol and tobacco elements become this persons ‘comfort blanket’ – their ‘feel good factor’.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Do you have a drink because the bottle is there?
Do you light up that cigarette, even when you don’t want it?

Anger/Frustration
I have also coached people who are fine at work. They perform their job well; they are liked and respected by their peers. However when they get home the family bears the brunt of their stress and frustration. The slightest little thing will cause a person to raise their voice at their other half. I have come across examples where a person walks into the house and steps on a toy – Boom – World War 3 has started. There are some people who have very heated discussions as to who has the TV remote. Something as simple as this can escalate into a very serious situation. Sometimes this type of interaction could lead to physical harm to one or both parties.
Does this sound familiar to you?

The ‘Bedroom Department’
The ‘Bedroom Department’ is seldom talked about. There are times when a person (Male or Female) has not been able to make love to their other half in the way they used to. This is not just a male issue. This in my experience can affect both men and women. In most examples that I have come across, the very fact that they cannot make love brings an added level of stress on top of the existing one. Another factor comes in to play here. Which is a person’s Ego. Like excess alcohol consumption, drugs, unacceptable behaviour at home and the office and the ‘Bedroom Department’, become a Taboo subject or subjects.
Do you have a Taboo subject?

Work Related Issues
Work related stress is one of the most common causes of raised stress levels. If you work at a Company where there are the usual levels of stress – then that is good. This is a Company that does not makes totally excessive demands of its work force. There are structures in place such as your job description is clearly defined. The Company empowers and trains you to complete your allotted tasks. It will have work schedules that are achievable and realistic and challenges you in your current role.
On the other hand, you may experience bullying, unrealistic time pressures, overbearing supervisors and senior staff, no or very little training, travelling to work, redundancies, down sizing and maybe having to work overtime to make a decent wage. These are just a few examples – I am sure that you can think of a lot more. I do not have a ‘silver bullet’ for the examples above. However, in most countries that I deal with there are Company policies and National legislation in place to protect workers against such actions and anti social policies.

If you are involved in your Companies downsizing policy – then see it as an opportunity to seek a role elsewhere. You will have skills and experience that are transferable to another employer. All is not necessarily lost, even though it might feel that way at the moment. Focus on what you want in the future – is what you are doing and having to experience getting you there.
Do you have an Action Plan to get what you want?

Do Not Become A Statistic
I was once a Police Officer in the UK. I was working in the gaol area one night when a guy was brought in under arrest. It turns out that he was arrested on suspicion of Burglary. He was an articulate man, well spoken. Not the usual type of person that a gaoler is used to processing. Once he had been placed in a cell, I did my rounds. After 30 minutes I checked on him to see if he was alright. I got a lot of attitude from him, he thought I was judging him. As I was on the other side of the cell bars to him.

He went on to say that he was a former Company Director with a 6 figure salary, Company Car, Health Benefits, the full works. He was then let go by this Company – and could not face going out in the job market for fear of failure which stressed him enormously. The only way he thought he could feed his family was to rob houses. Which thankfully he was not very good at. He made the point to me, that, I could be on his side of the bars if I make a wrong turn or decision in the future.
Do you know that conversation has stayed with me since 1982!

You are not alone, call me (+44) 0799 099 1103

richard@saxtonpartners.co.uk

LR10aa

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DEALING WITH STRESS

suspicion
Since my last post on recognising stress. I have been asked if I have any more tips on dealing with stress. Here are a few more of my thoughts, They may not tick the box for all of you reading this. However it might help you to create your own strategy – after all if you ‘own’ the strategy, then you will have more change of success. If these do tick the box for you, then start that change process – NOW!

If you look at my previous blog, the main thrust of it, is that someone has a need to recognise the symptoms that are actually stressed. This in turn will then enable that individual to make two choices. Address the stress or simply get on with it. Remember me saying, that we all need a bit of stress to make us function as Humans, to create and achieve our goals for ourselves and our loved ones.

There are some simple things you can do to de-stress yourself:-

1.) Exercise.
This might take the form of joining a gym. When you do go, work at your own pace, do what you want to do. Be yourself and work to your needs not the people around you. Or simply put on your coat and go for a walk – whatever the weather.

2.) Take a snap shot of your life.
Simply look at some of those things that could be causing your stress. A sudden shift by you will not be sustained, as you will revert back to type in time. A small shift on a regular basis is all you need. Remember that phrase “If you do what you have always done, you will get the same result.” Therefore if you don’t tackle stress – you will still end up feeling stressed.

3.) Me Time.
When do you ever have ‘Me Time’? This is very important as you can give yourself some quality ‘Me Time”. By the very fact you are assigning yourself this time – will give to yourself a huge feel good factor. ‘Me Time’ can simply mean listening to music, going out with friends and/or socialising, or doing a bit of mediation or reading.

4.) Give yourself a Challenge.
You might decide to enrol at College and do a basic language course 1 evening a week. If this challenge is a physical one – this will tick this Challenge Section – the ‘Me Time’ Section and the Exercise Section. A win – win – win.

5.) Accept the things you cannot change.
This might be the most challenging aspect. Some things are completely out of our control, there is nothing we can do about them. So why stress about it? Accept the fact and work with it.

These are just some ideas to ‘kick start’ your thinking. If you want me to help you think through your new way of thinking – simply contact me via this blog.

This is your life – your body – your mind. You owe it to yourself to ‘own it’.

Have a great stress free day.
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Do Your Work Colleagues Work And/Or Think In Silo’s?

I visited a potential client the other day, who was a manufacturer. Had a tour round the plant by one of the Directors. Very clean, very organised – no out of date memos on the notice boards – you know the thing I mean.

I was collected by this Director in their reception area. We started our factory tour by putting on our high visibility vest, safety hat and ear plugs. I was shown one area near to the reception, where some goods are delivered. All quite neat and tidy.

We then went into another part of the factory, which in fact was another part of their manufacturing process – a storage area. There was a difference, still tidy – the notice boards were still organised – and it had information only about that area of the business – nothing else. I would go so far as to say, that the staff had a different attitude to the ones I had previously experienced.

My factory tour continued into the main production hall. The noise level here was higher than the other two areas – not surprising as this was the main hub of the whole plant. I noticed that the floor and corners of this area were not as clean or tidy, when compared with the previous department. There was a lot of shouting, and quite ‘robust’ language, people being quite aggressive with each other. They were not arguing or fighting – just a bunch of guys constantly in each others faces.

The final part of my tour was the distribution area. Once again there was a marked difference to the production area. I went with my host to the boardroom for a coffee. He asked me what I thought about his plant. I said that my first impressions were that there seemed to the four businesses under one roof. The delivery area, the storage area, the production area and the logistics side of the business.

The Director was interested and asked me to give to him more detail about what we were discussing. The main point that I made was that each area was so different to the other. Yes – we must have some differences. What I was alluding to was the attitude of the work force in those areas – the way they came across as I walked passed them.
This Director thought about what I had said and after some discussion he realised that the four areas reflected the Manager that ran them. In essence the guy running the production area was a former military man before he came to industry. His department reflected his management style, as did the other three departments.

These four Managers had created their own Silo’s or how that part of the business worked for them, It is important to have individuals who are what they are and not clones of each other. So that they are different as I am different to my host Director.

He then told me that they were having ‘communication problems’ between departments. That is why he contacted me and gave me the factory tour. He knew there was something not right, yet, could not put his finger on it.
I devised a plan to ‘De-Silo’ the Managers – the benefit will be that communication will be better. Thus ensuring that the needs of the external customer are put first – not the internal Silo’s. Quite a challenge – however, I will achieve a result for him.

If you need silo’s removing – then I can help you.

Have a great day.

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By Doing The Same Thing – You Will Get The Same Result

We humans are very complex things. Our bodies maintains itself, it moves us around the planet. We use our intelligence to work things out and invent things. It even repairs itself. For our part we might exercise to keep it working and put in fuel to keep it running. Some of us take this level of performance for granted; some of us just do the silliest things.

Think about this point – have you ever tried to change the channel on your TV with the remote, and, it did not work! What did you do then? Most of us would do the same thing – and push the button down even harder! We would never think to change the batteries – that is too simple.

If you have tried to change the channel with this remote and it has not worked again (all very frustrating) have you taken the battery cover off and used your thumb to roll the batteries, while they are still in the remote – then put the battery cover back on – then tried to change the channel. All logic says that what you have done is a meaningless task. Yet, you still did it.

When I was in industry, I worked for a large expanded polystyrene manufacture of food packaging. I remember one shift made 5 tonnes of eps foam. Each roll of material weighed something like 200 kilos per reel. These reels went into stock, in readiness for it to be made into burger boxes. When the time can to use this foam the order for the customer was getting quite urgent. The reels of foam where then used – however, the resulting product was not forming correctly. The decision was to make another 5 tonnes of foam ASAP. This was planned in – made, then used on the machines. Once again the burger boxes did not form correctly.

The upshot of all this was that 10 tonnes of foam had been produced – that could not be used. In the example above no-one addressed the original issue with the first batch of foam. Remember if you do the same thing you always have done, you will end up with the same result.

So, if you are not getting what it is you want – then change something. Re-evaluate the big picture, hear some of those things that can be different, feel how the new outcome or end result feels to you once you have ‘imaginered’ it in your mind. Once you have tweaked this frame of mind – things will change, because you have altered something. Therefore the result will be different. It may not give to you your end result straight away – however it will put you on the right path. You might even engage an executive coach to facilitate this change in you.

Don’t believe me try it for yourself.

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Rock Bottom – The Next Chapter

Richards Rock
Now that you have read about how I hit rock bottom. The next chapter is what I did next. When I returned from Beaumaris after sitting on the beach in November, totally numb about my whole situation. I had an old VW Passat. I had a quarter tank of petrol and £10 in my wallet, and, I had to get back home. So I drove the whole way at 30 miles per hour – just to save fuel. If I had driven at normal speed on the motorway – I would not have made it.

A while went by when I decided to give my car a darn good cleaning – top to bottom inside and out. I allocated a whole weekend for this. So I got prepared and did it. When I got to the boot I cleaned the boot carpet and even polished the inside of the boot lid. In a VW Passat there are two little recesses at either side. I removed the bits that had fallen in there and vacuumed it. The vacuum when into overdrive – I wondered why. It was trying to suck up that rock! I had forgotten all about it, as it had rolled out of a bag and fell in the recess – it had been there for a long time.

When I held it up to the sunlight, I just smiled. That is when I realised that this rock was shaped by all sort of forces and had become the shape it was. Again, the thought struck me that I was shaped by other people, other situations – leading a life where it was not me.

When I was running one of my Accredited Diploma Courses in Coaching and Mentoring. I had the notion to tell my Rock Story – so I did. I took this one stage further by giving each person a little round rock of their own before they depart for home. This was my personal present to them – they now had control of this rock, not me. I informed them that they are in charge of that rock – as they are now in charge of themselves. The metaphor here is that they and no-one else, now shapes their future. They can facilitate this with the tools that I had given them on the course. Oh, they may decide to throw it away, put it in their sock draw or put it on their rockery in the garden – the important thing was, it was their choice to do that not mine.

I have still people who still have their rock. In fact I met a lady the other day who said to me “I’ve still got that rock you gave me”. This particular person used to be the MD of a multi million turnover business in the UK. In turn this company was bought by a global player in their field of expertise. She decided to leave and set up her own Global Technical Marketing Organisation. She is doing very well in her new venture, getting clients and imparting her marketing knowledge across the globe.

I am also in contact with another lady who used to have a global role in a German Pharmaceutical Company. She re-shaped herself also when she had her own rock; she gave her old self back to herself. Which is exactly what I did. She subsequently changed to another Global Pharmaceutical Company, and she now runs their Far East Division. She informed me in a recent email that her rock sits on her desk in her office and has pride of place.

For me, when I do something for someone, either Coaching or Mentoring I do not expect anything in return. However, it is lovely when I hear that my Rock Story itself has now gone Global!

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Managing Attitude

Directors, Managers and Team Leaders. Have to deal with attitudes on a daily basis. As we all know an ‘attitude’ can have a positive effect as well as a negative one. Generally if someone says about a colleague – s/he has an attitude – it more than likely means they have a negative one.

Attitudes always lead onto how a person behaves – hence a person with a good attitude, comes across as thoughtful, helpful and a good company asset. On the other hand a person with a bad attitude also comes across with a specific behaviour. They can be quite curt with someone, often moody – very unhelpful.

In the private and public sector managing these attitudes and behaviours is quite a skill. The best initial way is to step into that person’s world. See the situation from their eyes – that way you may find a root cause for their conduct. This can be very frustrating for the Director / Manager – you will find that getting curious, not cross is a much better approach.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

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