How people and organizations can work together to find the sweet spot of stress.

Stress is defined as a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. But stress hardly needs an introduction. We see it, we feel it, and we know it—in our sleep, our appetites, our work.

If stress could speak for itself, though, it might argue that it has been the victim of a character assassination; villainization by oversimplification. In fact, it would argue, the right amount of stress challenges us to be better.

Stress gets a bad rap—for many good reasons. The consequences can be pervasive and pernicious; you might even notice, as you read this, that you are gritting your teeth and clenching your shoulders. But stress is not always a bad thing, nor is it always about our "feelings."

By understanding the spectrum of stress, and how our bodies bear the burden of the extremes, we consider the ways that people and organizations can work together to find the sweet spot.

Key Takeaways

About This Report

What employees can do:

Find small ways to be in control of your day. This will help boost your feelings of autonomy and certainty.

Use rituals or implementation intentions. This well help reduce the experience of cognitive load.

Connect to your purpose. This will support resilience and work engagement.

Make one close friend. Having a best friend at work reduces stress and boosts engagement.

What leaders can do:

Increase transparency around decision making processes. This will boost employee perceptions of fairness.

Define expectations clearly. This will boost employee perceptions of certainty.

Provide positive feedback and the level of support needed. This will boost employee perceptions of status and autonomy.

Practice compassion. Compassion helps foster feelings of warmth, care, concern, reward, and affiliation.

What organizations can do:

Create cultures of authenticity and openness. Environments that foster emotional openness will result in more emotionally aware and available employees

Make space for connection. Research reveals organizations that encourage "water cooler"- style conversations show increased productivity over organizations that do not.

About the Publisher

Published by Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.

Publish Date

November 2021