Stress, anxiety and depression are poorly understood by most managers. Recent research by AXA PPP Healthcare published in HR Review in the first week of April 2015 suggests that 2/3rds of managers do not think that stress, anxiety or depression warrant time off work i.e. they are not sympathetic to and do not understand mental health issues. Other research has suggested that 88% of managers do not think that stress, anxiety or depression affects their place of work. This demonstrates there is a massive skills training gap in stress management education.
It is very worrying that managers are taught how to get the maximum return on investment from their staff without looking after their mental well-being. There is legislation to cover physical well-being, which is very necessary, but I would suggest mental well-being is just as important if not more so.
The reason for this is that anxiety, stress and depression affect thinking, decision-making and communication. Mental impairment probably affects a company’s bottom line more than physical impairment; it is easier to train someone to carry out a physical task but not as easy to teach inherent thinking skills.
It was reported by the FT that the prolonged downturn was contributed to by bankers being unable to take the necessary risks associated with wealth-creation due to their high stress levels. This was pooh-poohed by many, but the facts are there for all to see; stress creates a natural default system in the mind which causes the body to go into ‘auto-pilot’ to escape from whatever is causing the stress.
Fortunately, because we are intelligent beings, there are ways of actively overcoming this response. But they have to be taught and practiced! That’s because 90% of what we do is automatic; we don’t think about how we move, how our food is digested, the mechanism for breathing etc. However 10% of our activity is consciously motivated so in order to overcome our natural, inbred stress response, we need to harness the power of that 10%.
So as well as training and coaching management and staff to achieve more for the company using traditional sales, management, marketing and leadership courses, which are all important, I teach mind management techniques to prevent or over-come stress and anxiety. In this day and age, resilience development is a necessity for companies wishing to get the best from their staff – it’s a MUST have, not a nice to have. As an Anxiety UK therapist and a member of the International Stress Management Association, I work with individuals and teams, managers and staff, to improve their team-working and emotional intelligence which increases overall performance. Give me a call to find out how! And check out www.releaseyourbusiness.com for testimonials.