xxxxxix) Stress

Not realizing that stress, depression, etc can lead to drug/substance abuse and addiction. In some organisations drinking is an important part of the culture and can include drinking with the boss. Of all the drugs, alcohol currently provides the biggest challenge for organisations. Other drugs such as marijuana can be very harmful, ie 1 in 4 people in psychiatric wards have a marijuana addiction (Lyndall Chris, 2008a).

NB Marijuana and heroin come from the same group; both are depressants. To get a marijuana user hooked on heroin, all you have to do is spray some heroin in with the marijuana during the drying process. Once hooked, most people don't get off, ie the chance of getting off, if you go into detox, is 12%. Other drugs such as cocaine, ice, etc can cause devastating negative impacts. One of the best ways to handle this is in an organisational context is to have regular testing.

. Not appreciating the different types of stress. Good stress is planned and controlled. It involves strengthening your brain and increasing performance. Bad or toxic stress is un-planned, uncontrolled and exceeds the capacity of your system to handle it, ie to adjust to it and to have time for rest and recovery. You feel a diminished sense of power and control plus your performance is greatly reduced. Toxic stress is usually externally sourced, eg a natural disaster, a bad boss, etc

. Stress can bring out the "dark side" of people as they generally overuse or exaggerate their strengths (Fiona Smith, 2011i). Some examples

- boldness can become narcissistic (News Corporations - Rupert Murdoch)

- detailed-oriented and hardworking can become demanding and micro-managing (former Australian PM Kevin Rudd)

- charming and interesting can become manipulative and deceitful (former David Jones CEO Mark McInnes)

- confident and assertive can become arrogant and self-promoting (former Telstra boss Sol Trujillo)

- quick on the uptake can become not listening to others and impatient in waiting for others to catch-up (MD, Datacom Australia, Peter Wilson).

Some other characteristics that can become detrimental include

- excitable (intense and energetic becoming moody and prone to overreacting)

- sceptical (perceptive and shrewd becoming cynical and mistrustful)

- cautious (careful and thorough becoming reluctant to take risks)

- reserved (Independent and businesslike becoming stoic and disconnected)

- leisurely (cooperative and agreeable becoming covertly resistant and insincere)

- bold (confident and assertive becoming stubborn, arrogant and smug)

- mischievous (charming and jocular becoming irreverent and untrustworthy)

- colourful (outgoing and animated becoming "showboating" and overwhelming)

- imaginative (innovative and creative becoming off-the-wall and unrealistic)

- diligent (detail-oriented and hard-working becoming perfectionistic and demanding)

- dutiful (supportive and loyal becoming ingratiating and deferential)

. According to Margaret Wheatley (2009), 4/5th of our mental capacity decreases when we are under stress. This is linked with

- "fight or flight/flee" reaction (this is more obvious in males than females)

- the loss of our ability to see patterns (this is important for us to understand meanings)

- default function operates when overwhelmed. This means we revert to automatic routines that we are familiar with, eg entrenched beliefs and behaviours

- impaired learning, as learning requires a relaxed nervous system. This highlights the importance of slowing things down and conducting deliberate critical reflection.


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