In workplaces across the country, the major responsibilities of a business often ride on the shoulders of the executive staff. While this can result in high praise and reputations of efficiency, it can also bring incredible amounts of pressure and workplace stress. Further, the individual often has to juggle these high workloads with time spent with their families and time for themselves. Consequently, is it any wonder that executive staff are the main sufferers of workplace stress and burnout?
The Diathesis-Stress Model
A current perspective on understanding the interaction between stress and psychological/physiological health problems is the ‘Diathesis-Stress Model’.
It is believed that a Diathesis is a predisposition for a health problem that is inherent within an individual as a result of genetics or a childhood experience. This diathesis may reside within an individual undetected for their entire life. However, stress in everyday life may trigger this diathesis and result in a mental health problem or physical health issue.
Since high levels of workplace stress go hand-in-hand with an executive position, senior executives and company directors may be more at risk of developing mental health disorders or physiological health issues such as heart disease, disease of the arteries, or cirrhosis of the liver.
However, there are some simple ways to cut down the stress at work. Here are some suggestions:
Tips for Combating Executive Stress – Delegation
- For one week, without altering your behaviour, keep a detailed record every half an hour of how you spend your time at work.
- After a week take a look at this record. It will probably come as a surprise to you just how much time you spend on jobs that can be assigned to other employees; or on jobs that were unimportant.
- In order to avoid stress, it is beneficial to allocate your time to the important or urgent tasks first. This means spending more time considering suitable solutions that can save you time and worry in the future.
- For other tasks it is important to combat the idea that you are the only person capable of carrying them out. If you take the time to introduce jobs to individuals under your supervision, this can mean future delegation to these individuals who will eventually be able to see the job through to the end.
- The delegation of jobs may mean assigning small tasks to a group of individuals, and then those that do well can be trusted with the larger tasks later on.
Combating Executive Stress – Looking after yourself
Following the above tips, you hopefully will have found some time that was unnecessarily used up. However it is also important to use this time to look after yourself as well.
- Use your lunchtime to try and get out of the office. This may be for an hour or just 10 minutes, but getting away from it all is a good escape from work related stress. This could mean a trip to the nearby gym, the work canteen or even a short walk outside of the building.
- Set yourself work hours and try to stick to them. Although not always possible, it is important to set yourself a few days of the week where you will not work past a certain time in the evening. This means spending more time enjoying life outside of work with family, friends or other interests.
- Place a notebook and pen next to your bed at night. This means that every time you start to worry about things you need to do the next day, write them down instead of getting up in the night to complete the task before you forget.
- Indispensible Self Image. Many executives are under the impression that the world will fall apart if they don’t go into work. This could mean taking weeks to get over being ill or refusing to take leave for holidays or family occasions. By giving your team the power to make decisions without you, you will have more time to recover and can also make your staff feel valued and important in the process.
Harley Therapy’s team of London-based Psychologists and Psychotherapists are available to help. We offer workplace counselling in order to target workplace stress and executive burnout.