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Monday, June 22, 2009

Hey Boss, How are You Holding Up?

Stress is a very hot topic in 2009. The global economy is falling or scratching rock bottom and record unemployment is sticking around.

As a manager, you are not immune from these stresses. You may have had to lay off some of your staff. You may have seen some of your best customers go under or quit using your services. Your peers, superiors and staff are all acting a little funny. How are you holding up? All Inclusive for 60% Off! Save Up to 60% on Your All Inclusive Vacation in the Caribbean. Get Your Instant Quote Today!

It is very easy to believe to stick our collective heads in the sand and pretend this stress isn't adding up. We have sent out numerous "Dear Colleague" letters to help focus our staffs on customers and to keep their minds on the business. However, the stress has taken its toll. You have probably worried about your job and how to keep your business running. All of the stress adds up, but you can do something about it!

Annie McKee of Harvard Business Publishing wrote an article titled, "Are You About to Snap? Snap Out of It!" with four great points. A virtual PBX system with voicemail and Internet Fax. Try it free today.

1. Stop, look, and listen - It is time to pull yourself together. Observe what is being said by employees, managers and customers. Listen for subtle cries for help and overt calls for improvement. Acknowledge the reality and plan for action.

2. Ask people how they feel - Most people don't walk around the office telling anybody who will listen their woes. However, in stressful times, people like to know their feelings are important. It is good to folks to opportunity to vent their fears and frustrations. Also, really good creative thought comes out of stressful situations.

3. Decide on three or four absolute must-do's for yourself at work. Prioritize and execute! Sounds familiar, doesn't it? If you try to do everything, nothing will get done. As headcount diminishes, the amount of work for those still working increases. Focus yours and the work of your staff around the most critical items. Determine what is truly urgent and what can wait. However, have a plan to address those thinks that didn't make the "Urgent" list.

4. Attend to yourself — and the people you love. Life is too short to ignore your loved ones and yourself. Your kids and your spouse need you too, and you need them! Make time to have dinner with your family, and then get back work if you must. Burn out is a real risk. Prevent it with small breaks and short get-aways. Also, don't neglect your physical and mental health.

The current business climate is challenging, to say the least. However, stress is not new. When considering stress and crisis, good crisis management and common sense can help you steer your ship and lead your crew to a safe harbor, even in the stormiest of seas. Observe the conditions, take care of your crew, set the priorities, and take care of yourself. Oh how I wish I were on a boat!

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