Volume 23 (2022), Issue 7 (July)
ISSN 1619-2400, www.crisisnavigator.com

Working at One's Highest Level and Keeping
One's Inner Balance in Times of Crisis

by Dr. Wolfgang Stehling


Leaders and their teams have to deal with stress in a most optimal way, that is in the interest of every company. Stress puts employees under pressure, leads to ineffectivity, the personnel shows a relatively high percentage of employees being off "sick" and companies are burdenend with high costs. The German Institut fuer Arbeit und Sozialhygiene (IAS) in Karlsruhe notes that 85 percent of managers and business leaders who underwent health-check-ups, showed symptoms like: sleeping problems, gastritis, indigestion or heart-arrhythmics. The number one cause for these symptoms is: stress. A considerable number of coronary-heart-diseases and heartinfarct-risks cannot be explained by known organic preconditions. Stress as a psychogenic factor here plays an important part. Despite a good genetic precondition (constitution), or a fine acquired organic precondition (condition), a wrong inner attitude still will expose us to high stress risks.

Results of modern stress-research

Latest results of stress-research question the traditional distinction between eu-stress (positive stress) and dis-stress (negative stress). It has been found out that uncontrolled stress not necessarily has to be negative. Recently the influence of stress on the neuronal connectivity in the brain has been investigated. It is more and more evident that stress is an adaptation process that optimizes the behavioral responding of the individual to old and new challenges. Facing controllable stress we will master the physical and psychic pressure- but our stress-profile will not be developed. Uncontrollable stress on the other hand is not negative as such (dis-stress), but, in moderate quantity, enables our brain to be flexible and makes it fit for future challenges and critical situations.

Practical tips for managers

The majority of managers are not ready to train their stress-resistance in the little opportunities of daily life, that means in little or not-yet crisis situations. On the other hand they need their anti-stress tools at hand when the big crisis comes. Mainly the inner or mental attitude towards stress (see above) is extremely important and should be trained daily. Therefore the three columns of an effective stress management: concentration, goal setting and keeping an even mind should be integrated into daily life and should be trained regularly: I call it our daily "fitness-parcours".

  • How to train concentration?
    • Never do two or three things at the same time.
    • Unpleasent but important tasks should never be postponed.
    • Develop the ability to stop an occupation at once and by your own free will.

Comment: Divided attention is a negative stress factor. When you are able to do an unpleasant but priority task at once, you will be free to do the pleasant priority tasks. You gain more personal freedom.

  • How to train setting goals?

    • Goals always have to be formulated as firmly as possible.
    • Control terms are necessary.
    • After having set the goals, measurements have to be formulated and integrated into a time schedule.

Comment: In terms of company plans, especially in crisis situations, clear objectives and measurements are extremely important. Everybody involved has to know exactly his/her functions/tasks and his/her responsibilities.

  • How to train an even mind?

    • Avoid impulsive reactions. Each outburst of anger is one thousandth of a heart-infarct.
    • Realize that it is not a particular person or circumstance that is upsetting you but that you are upsettable.
    • Practise intelligent mistake management, that means learn from mistakes and make sure they don't happen ever again.

Comment: Practising an even mind means that we act out of our inner self. An even mind is our real nature. Anger, fear of failure and a hectic pace throughout the day are counterproductive to an even mind. Self-confidence, prioritising and slowing down the thinking process are measurements that bring back our even mind.


More detailed information about how to cope with stress in the best possible way can be found in the German publication of the same author:

Wolfgang Stehling,
JA zum Stress: Hoechstleistungen bringen und
im inneren Gleichgewicht bleiben,
Campus Verlag, Frankfurt, New York, 2000,
147 Pages, ISBN 3-593-36406-9, EUR 15.90

About the author

Dr. Wolfgang Stehling is the founder and director of
WST-Management, Eltville, Hessen, Germany.

First published in Crisisnavigator (ISSN 1619-2400):
Volume 1 (2000) - Issue 9 (September)

Date: Tuesday, 5. July 2022 - 11:44:30 Uhr

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