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Stress Response Styles Should Inform Personal, Managerial Decisions

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

It’s no secret that the modern workplace is a stressful environment, and today’s workers are expected to manage more stress than ever before. However, different workers react to stress in different ways. There are five common ways people respond to stress. The first three are familiar. Freeze: The person becomes paralyzed, overwhelmed, or hyper-vigilant. Fight: The individual feels a sense of competitiveness and aggression. Flight: The person attempts to escape or withdraw from the source of the stress. However, there are two more ways in which stress is approached: the challenge response and the tend-and-befriend response. The challenge response is viewing stress as a challenge rather than a threat. Stress can give such an individual additional energy and make them more focused. The tend-and-befriend response increases courageous and caregiving behaviors while bolstering social relationships. Many people think “I can handle this stressful situation all by myself,” but the tend-and-befriend responder will seek out the help of others. Understanding your own stress response is important in tailoring how you’ll approach different situations, and understanding subordinates' and co-workers' responses will inform a manager on how they can best motivate their employees to be their most productive.

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