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Stress management training



We are currently assessing our stress management practices following a member of staff recently being off with stress.

We are planning to do a stress audit and then train management on how to identify and mitigate stress in both their staff and themselves. Does anyone know of any good and practical stress management courses that I could attend to help me in formulating the training for the managers?

We also face convincing our senior managers that this is a very real problem that must be tackled and get their support before we start trying to convince the middle managers - bearing in mind that we work in a high stress environment and I doubt they would be particularly sensitive to people experiencing problems with stress or having the additional responsibility themselves of managing other people's stress. How have other people tackled this in the past?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Jennifer McGowan

13 Responses

  1. stress management
    Hi Jenifer,

    we have been successfully running stress management courses that combine the theory together with practical application of de-stressor techniques for some time. Happy to give you some tips & hints and how we incorporated a holistic therapist into the sessions!


  2. managing or mitigating stress
    This is a tough one, Jennifer, especially if you’re in a high stress environment as you say. People can get sucked into a “when the going gets tough…” set of assumptions. This means that

    • few people like to acknowledge they’re under stress
    • some people thrive on it and despise the others
    • longterm stress-related conditions may be building up.

      The stress audit may help you identify which the key stressors are. Generally they’re connected with

      • not having the power to change things that you can be blamed for
      • mild to severe bullying
      • too-tight deadlines and not enough information

      Overall in my experience, being under pressure to deliver, without the tools or the environment to support the delivery is the most frequent cause of stress; especially if there’s some threat associated with not delivering.

      In my view, the first step would be to ensure that the systems and structures are in place to enable everyone to do their job effectively. Second would be to look at management style. The driving question is “are we managing our people to get the best from them? what’s working and what’s getting in the way?”

      The next thing is to do a costing of someone being off with stress, to show the ROI in preventing undue stress (when it goes from’buzz’ to ‘burnout’).

      Only when that’s all in place is it worth doing stressmanagement courses, in my experience.

  3. stress-proofing for managers
    Dear Jennifer,
    A good starting point is the Bristol University Heads of Department www, listed below:

    One approach that works well is for members of the senior team to experience a stress-busting session themselves to appreciate the benefits – if they do, you’re home and dry. If they don’t, it’s a real struggle!
    Almost invariably the experience answers questions in a way that words and concepts won’t.

    The tack from the other end of the spectrum is to remind them of employers’ Health & Safety responsibilities…..It’s a reality nowadays.

    Best Success with this
    Joe Hoare

  4. Stress Management
    Hi Jennifer!

    The other suggestions are excellent. Have you looked at Carey Cooper’s growing library of stress manuals and tips for audits? Waterstones generally stock a good range. I recall one of his books is STRESS SURVIVORS wherein people like top executives discuss their strategies and perceptions.

    We are currently using a very good trainer earthed in practicalities. The main Universities are a further good source and I am sure you will drawn on free resources from HSE and/or ACAS?


  5. Stress management training
    my organisation has run this previously for all line managers, with some success. it was a half day package and covered the following;
    What is stress,
    Recognition and causes of stress,
    How do you manage stress,
    Talking to your team,
    Management of critical incidents.
    We worked with our colleagues in Occupational Health and Welfare to develop this package. generally it was well recieved, though occasionally seen as an opportunity to have a go at…. The biggest issue with line managers is gettin gthem to accept that they might be the problem, the BBC used to make a video (we didnt use it wrong context for us) that showed this very well.
    For evaluation purposes we used the HSE management figures on referrals and sickness for stress, after the roll out of the training both rose, as we were getting earlier referrals, you need to be prepared for this type of response. generally our OHU and Welfare colleagues were happy that the training had done what was asked of it. Raise awareness, get the subject out in the open and get referrals early to prevent long term harm.

    Please e mail if you want further information

    Don Oldcorn

  6. Profit
    I’m a ‘rogue’ stress management trainer 🙂

    I think in terms of Profit not Health and Safety…

    OK, hope that got your attention 🙂 What I mean is that many organisations see Stress as a H&S issue where in fact it should be seen as a financial one – if you have a thousand employees and one a year goes off sick from stress – then it’s arguable that you are better off paying that person compensation rather than investing in a proper stress management training programme.

    HOWEVER – If you consider that maybe of those 1000 employees 800 of them work 5% less efficiently than they otherwise could because they can’t prevent and manage stress optimally. Then stress management training is a really worthwhile investment.

    Obviously I’m most happy to give advice on the subject and you may also be interested in getting our free newsletter

    All the best.


  7. dealing with stress
    Hi Jennifer

    I have been doing some work in helping people better manage their levels of stress be it self-inflicted or otherwise. We have taken them away from the word stress and looked at how their thinking styles effect the way they approach obstacles, handle setback and deal with day to day adversities. I suggest looking at their emotional resilience and how they can develop that to improve performance at work.
    If you would like to contact me I would hapilly discuss the work I have been doing



  8. Work-related Stress Audit
    Hi Jennifer

    We offer a very comprehensive stress audit based on HSE guidelines which would provide you with tangible and measureable evidence. We can also refer you to coaches who are experienced in designing and delivering stress programmes to offer you help and guidance.
    Please visit our web site if you are interested in finding out more
    and look in The Coaches Tookit for stressindex.

    I would also be more than happy to provide advice so please contact me.

    Valerie Heritage, The Communication Challenge 0116 2596896

  9. Work Stress Information
    Hi Jennifer,
    This is definitely a health and safety issue and the senior mangers will need to be made aware that workplace stress is a hazard that must be evaluated as an important part of any organisation’s risk assessment. However they can also be educated about the business benefits of reducing stress. There is a great deal of information about this on the HSE’s web site Essentially their key messages are
    • Work-related stress is a serious problem. Tackling it effectively can result in significant benefits for organisations.
    • There are practical things organisations can do to prevent and control work-related stress.
    • The law requires organisations to take action.
    Personally I think it better to think of ‘pressure’ or ‘challenge’ as the positive and motivational aspects of work; and ‘distress’ as the organisational aspects that reduce productivity and can become harmful to health. Using this language avoids confusing the two.
    There is now a great deal of evidence that shows that decision making and attention and hence productivity are impaired when employees are under duress. While it is perfectly acceptable to work in a high pressure environment and one where there are adequate rewards for doing so, it is unacceptable to work in one that induces distress.

    The HSE have Management Standards that can be used very effectively to measure the six identified factors that cause stress and to formulate action plans.

    If you would like more information we have a free white paper on the causes of workplace stress and directors’ briefing documents that we would be happy to share.
    My recommendation is to hold off attending any courses as these invariably deal with the effects of stress rather than concentrating on the organisational causes. There is a seminar that might be of interest to you Stress, Performance and the Law is part of the HR Software Show on June 23rd and you can find more details about this through the CIPD web site
    The seminar will cost £130 for non members but does allow entry into the exhibition that runs alongside the conference.
    I hope this information is of help.
    Geoff Thomas, FCIPD, MIITD Belfast
    028 9022 8813 or 07778 864957

  10. Stress
    Given the case law on this area the only way a business can be sure to mitigate its loss is through counselling assistance.

    Stress policies and procedures can be put into place to deal with the stress issues but the risk of litigation will remain unless there is supportive practical help.

    For more information please feel free to call me or email.

  11. Stress Management Training
    Hello Jennifer,
    We have used a company called Living With Stress to deliver 1- and 2-day courses to managers in various areas of our business. They are very good and I can recommend them to you. Visit their website at for more information.
    Hope this is of use to you.


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