The reading level for this article is Novice

Stress is tricky. It drives you toward success and makes you feel good about youraccomplishments. Of course, you need stress to reach goals and protect yourself in times of danger, but too much stress is tough on your body.

In times of stress, your brain produces steroid hormones that get your body ready for action. Your heart, lungs, liver, and other major organs play key roles in this stress reaction.

These steroids also affect your digestive, immune, and circulatory systems. Your skin also gets reacts to changes in your circulatory and immune systems.

Complex neurotransmitters are released, telling parts of your brain to go into overdrive, creating fear in the case of danger and storing the event in long-term memory for future warning.

The neurotransmitters can shut down short-term memory and reduce your concentration, inhibitions, and rational thought.

Stress-tolerant people control their responses, but they cannot entirely prevent the stress reactions. And this concealment is the reason good leaders are on the lookout for signs of excessive stress.

Savvy leaders understand that stress control is their responsibility.  However, understanding the problem isn’t enough. The solution lies in knowing what to do, how to increase or decrease stress to boost the bottom line.

Just how much do you and your team leaders know about stress? Can you identify the physical and psychological consequences of too much stress?

How about the way stress changes personalities and behaviors – can you identify a half dozen things to watch for? And don’t forget about the impact of stress on your bottom line. What is the cost of stress in your company?

Assuming you are up to speed on these details, do you understand the top ten causes of workplace stress and know what to do about each of them?  Stress can have a major impact on bothproductivity  and profit.

So, back to the question of whether you are in over your head. You are as vulnerable as anyone else to negative stress in the midst of your success, and so are your key people.

Employees who exhibit anxiety, boredom, and anger could be on the verge of making costly mistakes. Those who have headaches, fatigue, diabetes, or ulcers are already in need of some stress relief.

Others who hide their stress but have difficulty with over eating, alcohol abuse, or emotional outbursts might not even recognize the role stress plays in these things.

Reactions such as these confirm that stress is costing you money through absenteeism, accidents, personnel turnover, and other key factors.

The question remains. Are you in over your head? You need the advice of others about your own performance because stress can hide itself in success and a sense of responsibility. Listen to them when they alert you to signs of stress in your own life.

Learn more about the top ten causes of workplace stress and what to do about it. Take my free “Spot Stress Mini Course” – three sessions delivered by
email. Request it by email at

This Personal Development article was written by Dale Collie on 3/29/2005

Dale Collie – speaker, former Army Ranger, CEO, and teacher at West Point. A “”Fast Company”” innovative leader.
Newsletter at