Coping in stressful times.

Author:White, Greg
Position:Professional Development

With the world of work as well as the world at large increasingly uncertain, having the capacity to remain flexible and strong in the midst of ambiguity and change has never been more important. If you and your employees don't have a natural ability to cope well through stressful times, here are some steps you can take to develop the skill:

* Learn from those who are naturally resilient. Think of three or four people whom you admire for the way they handled difficult situations in their lives. Note some of their personal characteristics and behaviors. Identify those you think are most essential for handling stressful situations effectively.

* Learn from your own experience. In the midst of a crisis, you may forget previous experiences when you've been resilient. Take a minute to recall a specific stressful situation that you have handled effectively. What characteristics, behaviors or actions did you use to get through it? What were some of your characteristics or behaviors that were unhelpful? What did you learn?

* Understand yourself. Why do you think you react the way you do? What is your sense of purpose? By knowing what your motivations are, you can act to build on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.

* Know the territory. Understand the forces shaping the changes and identify what, if any, role you play in them. Awareness of trends having an impact on your situation will enable you to recognize and acquire the knowledge and skills you need to prosper in tough times.

* Connect to resources. Sustain positive personal and professional relationships. Develop a personal support network you can rely on and identify organizational and community resources you can access in times of stress.

* Take care of yourself. Maintain an optimistic, receptive and flexible attitude and a sense of humor. Attend to your health, fitness and peace of mind. Focusing on your overall well-being will give you strength to overcome external stress.

Greg White is senior vice president and general manager at the Bingham Farms office of Lee Hecht Harrison, a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

A 5-step mini-guide for getting started

  1. Develop job descriptions and organization charts. They're essential in determining who and what needs to be developed.

  2. Share with your employees the career paths available to them, and the knowledge, skills and abilities they need to advance.

  3. Promote from within and let your employees know what you've done...

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