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Stressful Atmosphere

Postby Jengear29 on Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:20 pm


I have been suffering from a lot of stress at work recently. However, looking for online resources for how to deal with this they all seem to be aimed a stress due to overwork and how to cut back, say no to extra work etc. My situation is that I work in an office where the atmosphere is very stressful because of a very controlling and micro-managing head of department. This individual goes up to the edge of bullying but never quite gets there. However he is very undermining and difficult to work with and everyone in the office feels it. Apart from just getting out of the job are there any tips for dealing with a stressful working environment?

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Re: Stressful Atmosphere

Postby Sir Cary Cooper on Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:31 pm

A major cause of stress at work is a bullying or autocratic boss. Sometimes, the boss is unaware of his/her behaviour, in which case it is possible to change him/her. You can do that by finding a time when he is less stressed and highlight the impact of his behaviour on you and others, giving specific real time examples. If you perceive your boss would not respond positively to this feedback, you have a major problem. If he is an out and out bullying, you need to inform HR immediately. HR does not tolerate bullies anymore. If he is short of being a bully but behaves autocratically and you see no way to change his behaviour, you need to consider moving jobs within the organisation or to another organisation. HR may help but tend to do so when the behaviour truly falls into the bullying category.
Professor Sir Cary Cooper, CBE, FAcSS
Distinguished Professor of Organisational Psychology & Health at Lancaster University Management School
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Re: Stressful Atmosphere

Postby Wendy Green on Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:32 pm

Firstly, try to deal with the situation by acting assertively and speaking up for yourself whenever your head of department tries to undermine you. Ask if you can speak to them in private and explain calmly how their actions are making you feel.

Secondly, make sure that you don't take on board any negative comments or put downs, as this could erode your self-esteem and confidence.
Instead, tell yourself they are just your head of department's opinions and not the truth, then remind yourself of your positive attributes and achievements. Bear in mind that this person might have self-esteem issues, as it's often the case that people with a low opinion of themselves try to make themselves look and feel better by putting other people down.

It may also help if you takes steps outside of work to deal with the stress you're experiencing through meditation, yoga, or simply getting outdoors for long walks.

Finally, I know you seem reluctant to leave your job, but from my own personal experience it can pave the way to a happier future; I found that walking away from a stressful job and bullying colleague was the best thing I ever did; I'm now working for a charity whose chairperson and committee are really appreciative of everything I do for them, which makes me feel really valued and motivated. In my opinion life is too short to spend every working day feeling stressed and unhappy, especially when it could ultimately have a negative impact on your health and relationships.

I hope this response helps you to deal with/resolve your stressful work situation.

Wendy :)
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