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Leaders Letters A Leadership Resource

Edition 12. April 2010

If You're Feeling A Little Pinched... Facts About Stress More than six in ten Canadians report that they are experiencing a ‘great deal of stress on the job. (US 1/3 considered quitting due to stress.) The annual cost in Canada of work time lost to stress is calculated at $12-billion. (US - $300 billion spent annually on stress related issues.) 40% of job turnover is due to stress Absenteeism due to stress has increased by over 300% since 1995 Source: Stats Canada and Wall Street Journal, presented by Tips N’ Tools Stress Management Session, February 9, 2010

By Donald D. Hensrud, M.D. Director of the Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program (FORTUNE Magazine)

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ost of my patients would be bored to tears without stressful challenges in their lives.

The key to dealing with stress, is identifying the cause, which isn't always obvious. It might be lack of time, an unrealistic workload, personality conflicts, a health problem, or dozens of other things. Once you know the cause, the trick is to put it in perspective. Will whatever is bothering you be important a year from now? Is your reaction really appropriate for the situation? I urge my patients to engage in a daily stressreduction activity. It could be meditation, exercise, a walk, reading, listening to music, or deep breathing--almost anything that gets you to focus on something other than what you're doing. What matters is that it's a part of the day that no one can intrude upon. Try shutting your office door and closing your eyes for 15 minutes. Lean back and breathe deeply. You'll be surprised how this can change your perspective. Exercise, another winner, gives your mind a brief vacation while sending a surge of endorphins through your body. The time it takes to exercise can

make up for itself in increased energy and efficiency, not to mention improved health down the road. Time management is crucial to stress reduction. Think of your day as a pie chart, and realize there are only so many slices; divide them carefully and keep some balance among the different pieces. Now prioritize. Take care of the things that are important and urgent first, and then scratch the unimportant stuff altogether. Set realistic time lines. Make an agenda for the day, and follow through with it. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2.

Happy Anniversary! Child and Family Intake Team (Summerside) Supervisor Jeannine LaPierre connects to the people on her team by recognizing employees on their anniversary date. A typical celebration includes cake served at a team gathering and a personal note from Jeannine to the employee recognizing their strengths and contributions to the team. A 2008 staff survey asked staff if a supervisor, or somebody at work cared about them as a person. Jeannine is using the anniversary date employees joined the CFS team as an opportunity to show her team she cares. Nice work Jeannine.


If You're Feeling A Little Pinched... continued from page 1

Leaders Letters are produced by the Human Resource Team of the Corporate and Finance Division. They are distributed to members of the Senior Leaders Group and posted to the CSSL public shared drive. For information and feedback contact 569-7568.

It's also important to set limits. Successful people take on projects, do a good job, and get more projects. The better the job you do, the more people ask you to do. It's okay to say no, and it can be done in a positive

manner with an honest explanation rather than an excuse. Or delegate: Although we like to think we're the only one who can do the job exactly right, no one is irreplaceable. It's tempting to try to work your way out of a stressful situation, but keep in mind that others care and want to help.

Stay Positive in Negativity by Julie Fuimano t's easy to be positive in a positive environment. It's when things are emotionally draining and negative that you're challenged to behave differently. But you have the opportunity to be the beacon of light for others around you. By your actions and responses, you can demonstrate and teach others how to behave in an appropriate, positive and professional manner.

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Positive energy catches on just as quickly as negative energy. Sometimes people are simply stuck in a habit or pattern of behaviour and are accustomed to acting a certain way. If the environment is really caustic, then it's what people are used to and may be all they know. It takes some time and effort as well as a commitment to do something differently to create sustainable change. You must be willing to identify and stop tolerating what's not working, do the right thing even if it's initially unpopular and then teach others to do the same. Here are ways you can be a positive force in your workplace: The First Step Is Awareness Recognize the negativity around you. Sometimes you can even feel your energy being drained by the words being spoken. If it feels bad or uncomfortable, then it's negative. It All Starts with You In what ways are you contributing to the

negativity around you? Are you listening to gossip or participating in conversations where the only focus is to denigrate, diminish, or criticize? Language matters. Learn to respect people's humanity and their right to be themselves. Complaining without end does not focus on creating solutions. Speak Up Tell the other person how you feel by saying, "This doesn't work for me." It's nonjudgmental, since you're making it about you, not them. Also, people often don't realize they are being negative. Point it out in a gentle, caring way: "Do you realize you are complaining?" Just bringing it to their attention can be enough to shift the conversation. Your silence conveys permission to continue. Praise and Acknowledge It's amazing what a few words of praise and acknowledgement can do. You want to be the kind of person people gravitate to because they know they will be uplifted by you, not put down or drained of life-sustaining energy. In short, you want people to feel good after being in your presence. It takes a true leader to walk a path different from the crowd. So when others are negative, stretch your boldness muscles and be positive in spite of what others do or think. It's the only way to create a ripple of change. And if each of us does our part, then slowly but surely, we will make a difference in our work environment and the larger community.


If You're Feeling a Little Pinched - Leaders Letters April 2010  

A Leaders Letter resource focusing on dealing with stress.

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