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  • Writer's pictureSteve Crabb

Stressing to management why stress management is mission critical

Updated: Aug 16, 2018

On an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) training a participant asked Dr Richard Bandler (co founder of NLP) what he thought about stress management?

His reply was typically humorous as well as packed with useful insights.

“I think stressing the management is a good idea. The first thing for people to realize is that stress doesn’t exist, it’s not a thing, or a virus, you cant catch it!. It’s simply when the world doesn’t do what you want it to do and the world has a habit of doing that”

Stress management is really about two things; managing processes (what people do) and managing the inner world of the individual (how people think).

The first part (processes) is addressed comprehensively by the Health and Safety executives Standards, they have researched the common causes of stress in the workplace and put together action plans to help companies to mitigate these. What the HSE standards do not address is the second part, how the individual reacts to these stressors and how they cope with them, or in many cases don’t cope.

Its only reference to this subject is to suggest incorporating counseling into any stress management programme if its deemed to be needed however this approach is flawed. Counseling is used for when someone is struggling to cope. A better sequence is to train the individuals to have better emotional management skills (to manage the inner world). Prevention is always better then cure!

Addressing working practices is a great start for any business aspiring to be a health place to work but without dealing with how individuals manage the inner world of perceptions, thoughts and emotions it’s only a part done job.

Failing to manage the inner world is why despite the standards being in place for over a decade, stress still accounts for:

§ 55% of people experiencing work related stress

§ 22.7 million days lost to people being off ill or sick due to stress

§ Stress costing UK businesses £3.7 billion in lost productivity

Plus the hidden costs of poor performance, bad decision-making and the cost of having to compensate and cover for someone suffering from stress.

Stress management begins with the management recognizing the importance of dealing with the processes and at the same time learning how all humans create their emotional states through their thinking.

Deliberately mixing my metaphors here, they are two sides of the same coin and if only one is addressed it’s the equivalent of plugging the holes in a leaking bucket and not seeing that it doesn’t have a bottom to it, it’s a flawed strategy. This is why although stress management figures are improving, they will never be what they can be until individuals learn how to personally cope with stress.

Learn to manage the inner world and although nothing will have changed on the outside everything will be different.

“Business Coaching & Mentoring for Dummies” available on Amazon


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