Title: Army Ranger Reveals How to Control
Corporate Stress
Length: 991 Words
Author: Dale Collie
Email: MailTo:collie@couragebuilders.com
Category: Business/Leadership/Stress/Motivation
Web Address: http://www.couragebuilders.com
Copyright 2004

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Army Ranger Reveals How to Control Corporate
Stress by Dale Collie

"Adopting the right attitude can convert a
negative stress into a positive one." Hans Selye -
the "father of stress" and founder of the Canadian
Institute of Stress.

Every worker in America has heard of individual
stress management techniques -- relaxation,
meditation, and visualization -- good tools for
getting through stressful periods. But if they're
so great, why do we still have all this stress?

We're going to need something more than mood
music, aroma therapy, and comfortable lighting to
get beyond the stress of today's workplace. We're
going to need management's attention because
stress control is a leadership responsibility.

The US Army has plenty of experience with stress
control as front line leaders strive to keep GIs
on the job. Traditionally, the US Army has lost
as many soldiers to stress as to enemy gunfire - a
ratio of 1:1. The most elite units trim this loss
to a ratio of 1:10 - one stress loss for every 10
wounded soldiers.

Regardless of the ratio, every front line soldier
is critical to winning the battle. Commanders
know that controlling stress under fire is as
critical as food, fuel, and ammunition. The same
holds true for corporate America. You can't get
high productivity with high absenteeism.

Combat leaders watch for stress symptoms and take
action. They are taught to "Know your troops, and
be alert for any sudden, persistent or progressive
change in their behavior that threatens the
functioning and safety of your unit." (FM 6-22.5,
"Combat Stress")

Specifically, front line leaders are taught to
help overstressed soldiers in six ways:

Army Step 1. Reassurance

Corporate Solution: Some people need contact with
the boss to assure them that things will turn out
ok. Spend time to find out worker's concerns. Ask
for their observations on recent events. Find out
what they think about upcoming changes. Ask for
their advice -- they'll admire you for
demonstrating your trust. Simple remarks showing
your confidence in workers can make a big

Army Step 2. Rest and sleep

Corporate Solution: Its worth your while to offer
some additional time off if stress is interfering
with performance. Consider giving additional
breaks to relieve mental and physical fatigue.
Improved productivity will more than pay for the
unstructured breaks that over-stressed workers
will take on their own.

Find out what's needed to help employees get more
rest at home. Bring in experts to teach the
importance of rest and relaxation. Take a look at
that overtime schedule; the extra work might be
taking its toll in absenteeism, illness,
accidents, and attitudes.

Army Step 3. Food and fluids

Corporate Solutions: You can influence how people
eat by getting experts to teach the importance of
proper nutrition. Make sure nutritious snacks are
available alongside the junk food in vending
machines. Provide healthy snacks mid-morning and
mid-afternoon when energy levels begin to fade.
The investment will pay off in better performance.
Reward good health.

Army Step 4. Hygiene - bathing, clean uniforms

Corporate Solution: A scheduled break to get
cleaned up before lunch or after a hard day of
dirty work can pay off in a big way. Make sure
everyone has the right protective clothing for the
job. Extreme temperature and dampness create
stress that can be easily relieved by proper
apparel and hygiene breaks. And, as surprising as
it might seem, some employees do not have running
water at home.

Not all of them have hot water. Not all of them
have washing machines. Make these things available
at your workplace or find alternatives. One-time
arrangements can go a long way in helping stressed
workers get their emotions under control and get
their productivity up where it belongs.

Army Step 5. Discussion - A chance to talk about
what happened, to tell war stories

Corporate Solution: Everyone benefits from a
chance to tell about what went on. Some people
are more sensitive than others. There is often
great value in routine meetings to kick off the
shift or explain the day's activities. Scheduling
time before or after meetings to talk about what
happened can relieve stress for those in the spot
light. Team discussions after sales calls can
help stressed workers understand the results and
focus on what needs to be done.

In times of high stress, some people need to talk
about what happened to others around them - family
members, community tragedies. Managers can handle
the day-to-day conversations and experts are
available to address major stressors. Help
workers tell their "war stories."

Army Step 6. Restoring identity and confidence
with useful work

Corporate Solution: As soon as possible, over
stressed workers need to return to their positions
of responsibility. They need to see that (a) they
can perform well (b) that management recognizes
their efforts (c) and that life goes on.
Emphasize small accomplishments. Find reasons to
reward each person for their achievements.

GIs usually return to their jobs after a short
rest, a hot shower, a chat with their supervisor,
and a warm meal. Your people can do the same.
Most of the time, they can continue in their jobs
if you pay attention to their basic needs.

Watch for high stress period in your business
cycle and schedule time to work on these six
steps. You'll improve productivity and the
workplace environment by taking care of your
people. Your investment of time and money will be
rewarded in better performance and lower costs.

Work with your human resources experts to assist
those who are beyond your ability. Let the
professionals take care of the severe cases while
you take care of your other employees and get the
work done.

Can you identify employees who are suffering from
stress? Do you know what to do about it? Evaluate
employee problems with an eye toward stress
control. Send a blank email to
toptenstressors@couragebuilders.com for a f`r`e`e
article about the top ten causes of workplace

Copyright 2004 - Dale Collie

Dale Collie (MailTo:collie@couragebuilders.com)
speaker and former US Army Ranger, CEO,and professor at
West Point. Selected by "Fast Company" as one of
America's Fast 50 innovative leaders. Author of
"Frontline Leadership: From War Room to Boardroom,"
and "Winning Under Fire: Turn Stress into Success
the US Army Way." (McGraw- Hil) Free newsletter upon
request: MailTo:subscribe-956606571@ezinedirector.net

Author's Bio: 

Dale Collie (MailTo:collie@couragebuilders.com)speaker and former US Army Ranger, CEO,and professor atWest Point. Selected by "Fast Company" as one ofAmerica's Fast 50 innovative leaders. Author of"Frontline Leadership: From War Room to Boardroom,"and "Winning Under Fire: Turn Stress into Successthe US Army Way." (McGraw- Hil) Free newsletter uponrequest: MailTo:subscribe-956606571@ezinedirector.net