Discover how to reduce the stress of back-to-school

To me, the handling of back-to-school pressures is easily recognisable as a branch of Change Management, today’s most topical intervention in the handling of stress symptoms.

There is the change from holiday culture into term-time culture. Then there are changes in the child itself, often marked decisively by the educational milestones: new term, new year, new school. And these are also milestones for parents too.

Logically, you would expect parental stress to rise with each stage of education, according to its perceived importance  –  together with its rocketing cost, whether or not there are school-fees involved.

But personally I see it the other way round. To me, the first day at kindergarden  –  which looks unimportant  –  is the seminal moment, when the child’s eyes and ears are most open to its unfamiliar surroundings, and it is most responsive to atmosphere. A good stress-free first day at school seems to me worth everything else put together.

Have you… experienced stress at Back-to-school time? Add your comment here.

Find out more about these and many other aspects of stress management at info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk. Tel:  +44 (0) 20 8954 1593 www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen

Back-to-school Blues? You’re simply having to handle a change-of-life in your child – and in yourself. Read more > http://ping.fm/Q1fpB

Listen

Avoid work stress through smiling, says Carole Spiers

At moments of acute work stress, you may feel that a smile will cost you some dignity. But what about the simple wisdom that says “A smile costs you nothing”?

As an international stress-counsellor and motivational speaker, I found that sulking was prevalent among those who tended to complain that they were at the bottom in life, as with long-serving prisoners.

But in war-zones, where law-abiding (indeed, law-enforcing) people have come through much worse conditions, the smile is adopted as a symbol of survival and the triumph of the spirit.

In this recession, the smile may become the mark of the survivor. If you can cope optimistically with new and unexpected conditions, forge yourselves into a team and win through, then you have triumphed. And the ones who are still thinking negatively, because they were unprepared for change, will lose out, and probably continue to blame everyone but themselves.

Find out more about these and many other aspects of work stress at info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk. Tel:  +44 (0) 20 8954 1593 www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen

Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers comments on air-traffic controller ‘talking on his mobile’…

The terrifying plane crash over the Hudson in downtown New York has been attributed to an air traffic controller talking on his mobile while on duty. This represents an extreme case of a common condition  –  inattention due to the intrusion of mobile calls, nearly always trivial.

Certain shops and offices have already banned the use of mobiles as unprofessional bad manners that raise stress-levels in the other person. The recent tragedy shows how unprofessionalism can cost lives.

Can you truly say that you never speak on your phone when it is not hands free in the car?

Find out more about these and many other aspects of stress management at info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk. Tel:  +44 (0) 20 8954 1593 www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

 

Listen

Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers explains how to reduce the stress of job interviews

Job interviews combine so many different kinds of work stress that Interview Coaching has become a recognised branch of stress management, in much demand by beginners and top players alike.

You can help by remembering what an interview actually is. It’s a sales pitch in the form of a conversation. Your brief is to promote your potential benefits to the organisation, in a form that the employer will recognise and remember, and suggest likely advantages over other applicants. And although it is not a scripted recital, the key points should be itemised and memorised, and you should try to put all of them across during the course of the interview.

This needs preparation, including listing those key strengths in the first place. For it is remarkable how many people simply don’t know what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Do you know yours?    Let us know.

Find out more about these and many other aspects of stress management at info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk. Tel: +44 (0) 20 8954 1593 www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen

Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … Regulate the regulations – for stress relief

Regulations are so ever-present that we don’t usually identify them with stress. Yet they steadily raise the stress by adding to our daily burden, often to no purpose. Too many regulations can stifle decision-making initiative. There is also a danger in simply having too many regulations on the books, with many staff motivated to preserve them, or even create more of them if possible.

I was describing this type of person to a senior UAE government minister, Shamsul, who was chairing a special committee monitoring the huge increase in city traffic. He said his problem was curiously different  –  a road-safety crusader, Tahlia, who didn’t seem too interested in her pay and position, but had a fanatical belief in the link between regulations and safety. He said she was always repeating “Even if it only saves a single life …”

Well, as a keynote speaker with a speciality in counselling I had learned that repetitions can be revealing. Before I left for the day, I had managed to arrange an unofficial session alone with this formidable young lady.

Choosing my moment carefully, I plunged in and said what was in my mind. “There’s something personal behind this, isn’t there, Tahlia?”

“What’s wrong in saving lives?” she said, rather too automatically.

“You don’t know whether you’re saving lives. Believe me, I come from the congested South-East of England, and too many traffic-regulations can just make things worse. The more of them you have, the less they’ll be enforced. And if anyone can tell you about the non-stop stress of driving, it’s a stress relief professional like me.”

Eventually it came out. Her father had been killed in a big pile-up when she was eleven, and ever since then, she had wanted to devote her life to road safety. To her, regulations equalled safety  –  no argument. I realized I should not lecture her too much. I suggested she studied the Dutch road-planning models of the late Hans Monderman, which have overturned virtually every assumption about driving psychology, and reduced driving stress in several cities. And I reminded her that Dubai is a young community, motivated to avoid the expensive mistakes of its older counterparts.

Have you heard … of someone suffering a lifelong obsession based on an early trauma? Tell us what happened  –  or just what you think and feel about common workplace situations like this. In our readers-comments box.  Now.

Understand the stages of crisis and trauma  –  with ‘Crucial Dialogue at Critical Moments!’  –  just one of Keynote Presenter, Carole Spiers’ presentations that have decisively changed attitudes and mindsets!

See Carole live at:  http://bit.ly/TUWbX

Book Motivational Speaker, BBC Broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference, for a charismatic, high-impact presentation on proven stress management and organisational change strategies.

Tel:  +44 (0) 20 8954 1593 or email:  info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk.

Or check-out our latest professional stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management services delivered to blue-chip clients from Bank of England to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, UAE and worldwide at:  www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen

That job interview is just a sales pitch. So whittle down your main selling proposition into one short phrase. http://bit.ly/YWFAz

Listen

Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers says … Don’t let Passive aggression inhibit team-building

Aggression is a difficult beast to handle. You may superficially control it through punishment, but it can still emerge in a different form called Passive Aggression  –  the root of much workplace conflict and stress.

This is the sulky and resentful style of working, where tasks are carried out correctly, but with such lack of spirit that all momentum is lost and little obstacles are allowed to upset whole programmes. It is a major test of management in coping with stress.

Passive Aggression is clearly a bad habit, a lazy excuse for dodging unwelcome chores while avoiding confrontation. And I have found that it is susceptible to normal Anger Management techniques.

I once worked with a major boatyard in Dubai, where one of the directors, Hassan, had always worked with wooden canoes, and felt disoriented by the changeover to fibreglass. In particular, he resented the fast-track promotion of the young plastics engineers who were making him look redundant. This involved two themes that bulk-up big in workplace conflict  –  dealing with stress and managing change.

When the early fibreglass canoes developed trouble with paint peeling-off, Hassan was privately delighted. And when the board was trying to overcome this technical problem, he acted in a thoroughly obstructionist way, finding pretexts for delaying several stages of the research. You could call it slow-motion sabotage.

His dialogue was also full of Passive Aggression. To the young engineers, he would say things like “You may not remember, when we were in the old yard …”  This referred to a change of premises twenty years earlier. Or he would mention the name of a long-retired colleague. “Oh yes, I suppose that was before your time.”  So they were being not-so-subtly reminded of their youth and (relative) inexperience.

In the end, he had to be confronted with his problem  –  or simply his bad habit. The MD pointed out that fibreglass canoes had not only proved more efficient, but that governments were starting to discourage the manufacture of wooden canoes, on grounds of deforestation. Unfortunately his negative attitude had caused so much damage to his working relationships that he could not function any longer in a senior role, and had to be pensioned off.

Have you heard of someone going into a slow sulk about unwelcome changes at work?  Tell us what happened  –  or just what you think and feel about common workplace situations like this.

In our readers-comments box. Now!

Fight the irrational fear of change   –  with ‘Change is your Opportunity for Growth’  –  just one of Keynote Presenter, Carole Spiers’ presentations that have decisively changed attitudes and mindsets!

See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX

Book Motivational Speaker, BBC Broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference, for a charismatic, high-impact presentation on proven stress management and organisational change strategies.

Tel:  +44 (0) 20 8954 1593 or email:  info@carolespiersgroup.co.uk.

Or check-out our latest professional stress reduction products at:  http://bit.ly/FjL5L  and stress management services delivered to blue-chip clients from Bank of England to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, UAE and worldwide at:  www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

Listen

How to get commuters out of their cars. Build a new Metro, says Dubai. But will people actually travel public?http://ping.fm/wsJZW

Listen