How Management Training Works

Stress-management Training

A manager's stress can affect the entire department.
A manager's stress can affect the entire department.

The last -- but certainly not least -- area of management training we're going to discuss is stress management. Stress may be the least discussed, but most prevalent factor affecting the productivity of an office. It's hard to hide stress, and it can be contagious. This is particularly true for managers. If employees sense their manager is under a lot of strain, that anxiety can trickle down into the team and result in a host of unnecessary issues. Particularly in a tough political or tumultuous environment or in an organization experiencing a lot of sudden changes, stress can be misread and put everyone on edge [source: AIS].

Of the types of management training we've covered, stress management may be the most difficult to teach. This is because humans are designed to have certain mental and physiological reactions to stress. It's part of our defense biology and, therefore, can be just as beneficial as it is distracting. We have little use for the fight-or-flight instinct in our day-to-day lives, though when we aren't in danger, our body still responds to traffic jams, missed deadlines and conflicting priorities the same way [source: AIS]. But even if you could short-circuit the stress phenomenon, you probably wouldn't want to. After all, stress can help keep us sharp, thinking on our toes and keen to opportunities that a dulled sense of safety might miss.

The trick is to identify which stressors, or responses to stress, are unhealthy and doing what you can to mitigate them. As employers focus on creating a more worker-friendly environment, more and more attention is being given to on-the-job stress and how to cope with the ups and downs of the workplace.

Selection for stress-management training may differ from the other opportunities we've discussed because it's usually a reactionary response. Stress affects people in widely varying degrees. Some people work great under pressure and blossom when they are faced with crises, while other wilt under the strain, bringing productivity to a standstill. Recognizing who would and should benefit from stress management training often falls to human resource departments since they're frequently the ones fielding complaints from over-taxed employees.

There are also instances when entire organizations may implement stress-management training. For example, when there is a plane crash or a mine collapse, it's not uncommon for the affected companies to bring in experts to help workers cope with the grief, uncertainty and anxiety associated with such a tragedy.

These are just a few types of management training, but there are training modules, books, professional groups and organizations that specialize in virtually every sector. And for companies interested in investing in the management skills of their employees, the options are practically endless.

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