Steve Lyston, Contributor
As times become increasingly difficult, stress is also on the increase. The greatest desires of man today are to be debt free and at peace.
The environment today is tense with stress as many are increasingly concerned about tomorrow. As a result of the increasing stress levels, many people try many different things in order to lay hold of peace.
Arnold and Feldman have defined stress as "the reactions of individuals to new or threatening factors in their work environment." Since our work environments often contain new situations, this definition suggests that stress in inevitable.
This definition also highlights the fact that reactions to stressful situations are individualised, and can result in emotional, perceptual, behavioural, and physiological changes."
Politicians and legislators even add to the stress and then put laws in place in order to curtail our response to their oppression.
Jesus outlined in Matthew 26: 25 - 34 that worry (stress) is a distraction and that it was unreasonable, unnatural, unhelpful, unnecessary and unbelieving.
Thus, we are not to become distracted from the substantial issues of life over less important matters such as what we will eat or wear. We are the only creation of God's that worries. God provides for the birds and we are more valuable than they are. God provides for the needs of His own.
While stress is found in all levels of society, there are some occupations that carry extreme levels of stress. These include: police, doctors, nurses, teachers, national leaders, church leadership/clergy, tax collectors and correctional officers.
In order to have a less stressful environment, it is critical for leaders in every organisation to play an active role in the process of reducing stress. So they could start by looking at more than just the academic qualifications of an individual to place him or her as one of its customer service representatives, for example, and look also at the person's ability/gift to engage their customers pleasantly, professionally and respectfully.
They must also create the environment that is conducive to a pleasant, experience with the organisation; that is, set the right atmosphere so that customers/clients feel comfortable and confident doing business with them even if they may be under financial pressures.
Matters such as rules, laws and regulations must be carefully thought out and evaluated before they are even brought to the fore. A customer in default of payments ought not to be treated with less respect than the person who is not, because tough times can hit anyone and you never know when the tables may turn.
Debt collectors and loan officers should not always seek to intimidate those in default. It adds nothing but stress and makes their jobs that much harder.
Instead, one of their main strategies could be to encourage and motivate their customers, and where possible, visit them to see how they can help to direct them on that issue. They might be pleasantly surprised to see the solutions that would come out of that.
A manager sitting in a comfortable chair in the office with the air condition making rash or rushed decisions about those outside of his/her reality does not realise that it is not as comfortable for those about whom they make their decisions.
There is also the matter of service. It goes without saying that good customer service and a pleasant and professional environment will bring repeat business to your organisation even where your product is not the best in quality by comparison; even when the prices are by comparison higher, because the service given makes a huge difference.
Technology has robbed many organisations of the personal touch that is so important to its customers. Today, when you call many organisations, we are met with the impersonal 'press 1, press 2' message; and after all that you hear, 'message full' or 'goodbye'
Managers need to pretend to be an external customer and try to call their own offices and see what their secretaries/administrative assistants/personal assistants are like to deal with.
Some of the big businessmen should attempt to call their companies to try get something rectified, and see what the experience is like and make adjustments where necessary.
There needs to be some serious adjustment and addition to the curriculum at the training level for the police force. They must be taught how to remain composed under pressure; how to treat the general public despite treatment by members of the public; how to respond to people and situations and help to bring positive change.
Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books including 'End Time Finance' and The New Millionaire'.