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Stress is a terrible workplace companion

Stress is a terrible workplace companion

Stress. It is everywhere. But it seems to be getting worse in the workplace. A leader can choose to alleviate, ignore or increase the stress level in the workplace.

After Winning Workplaces conducted their two-year research study on the American Workplace, they found that 66% of employees regularly experienced high levels of stress on the job.  A recent study released by Carnegie Mellon University shows that stress continues to increase in America. “Stress levels increased over the three studies, roughly 10 to 30 percent across all categories, between 1986 and 2009,” writes Charles Poladian in an article “Stressin’ USA, Looking at 30 Years of Stress in America” published by Medical Daily.

If you don’t believe me about levels of stress. Perform a quick social experiment. Get in your car and try each of the following: 1) Drive under the speed limit for five miles, 2) When a red light turns green, don’t move for 10 seconds, and 3) Drive the posted safer speed limit in a construction zone. When you perform each of the following, take a friend so they can video all the nice motorists who are going to say hello with one finger, plus a few choice words.

Back to the workplace. Leaders have the responsibility of lowering the pressure in the workplace. Find out what is causing the stress and allow people to let the air out.  People work better when they are relaxed.  Stress is a terrible workplace companion. It eventually starts to tear down the mind and body, and you don’t want that.


Graphic Credit: “Nervous Breakdown” by Photographer Vince Penman

Kevin Kennemer is founder of The People Group based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kevin is driven by his passion for company owners and their need to earn a profit, employees' desire for a positive and fulfilling work experience, and the community that benefits when both groups do well.


  1. R B 7 years ago

    A little stress can be a good thing. It can motivate and push you in a positive way. But a little too much stress starts to eat away at your body and mind. Just as metal has a breaking point, so do we. With metal, sometimes the break can be welded back together and still be useful. But in all likelihood, it will never be a strong as it once was. People are even harder to put back together. Sometimes the damage is so massive, the person is never the same. In most cases, the breaking point will be reached much more quickly the second time. Stress can literally destroy a person’s physical health and mental resiliency. No one believes it until it happens to them. And most business leaders don’t care. There’s always another person waiting in the wings to take the place of the person they just demolished.

    • Author
      Kevin Kennemer 7 years ago

      R.B., thank you for your comments. You are right about saying, “No one believes it until it happens to them.” That is why we need leaders with empathy and willingness to be vulnerable. Empathy allows them to understand better an employee’s emotions, and vulnerability builds trust with employees.

      The one thing we should avoid is the temptation to feel sorry for ourselves or enter destructive self-pity. We need to realize life is not fair and use toxic encounters as motivation to be a positive influence in our social circles.

      Thank you for being a faithful reader and participant in my blog. Spread the word and let’s get more people engaged in this conversation. Your friend, Kevin

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