Reactive Stress Management Strategies are Not Recommended as a Long-Term Solution
In this case it is apparent that Chet is becoming overworked due to lack of time management, which has also resulted in an increase in stress. Instead of applying strategies (such as enactive or proactive) to manage and cope with his stress, he speaks of reducing the time he spends in other areas of his life, which will likely only result in an increased amount of stress. This solution could be viewed as a reactive strategy as Chet is relying on temporary methods to cope with his stress since he knows these actions can be implemented immediately. Although reducing the amount of time spent in other areas of his life may give him more time to work, this will not solve the core issue of stress in his life and may prove to be more harmful than effective. Relying solely on reactive stress management strategies is not recommended as a long-term solution and violates the principles of stress management stated in the text.
A huge source of stress in Chet’s life at the moment is derived from time stressors, which could be significantly reduced through the use of time management strategies. Although encounter, situational and anticipatory stressors are all present in Chet’s work life as well, the majority of his stress comes from time stressors, which indicate work overload and a lack of control. Violations of the principles of time management outlined in the case include: spending more time on urgent matters rather than important matters, focusing more on what he wants to do rather than on what he wants to achieve and a lack of prioritization. In addition to this Chet views large projects as intimidating but does not bother to divide them up and make use of a small wins strategy. It is also evident that Chet does not keep track of his time, as he was surprised each time he checked, keeping track of time and setting strict deadlines and time limits could prove to be extremely effective ways to eliminate time stressors. Lastly, scheduling personal time where no interruptions occur is key to efficient time use. Chet was interrupted almost every time he attempted a task; moreover, his suggested strategy was to essentially eliminate personal time, which directly violates the principle of efficient time management.
There are several organizational problems in this case. Chet, the plant manager at Norris Company, has his work cut out for him, especially given the fact that each worker does not understand his assigned role or responsibility. Also, Chet is struggling to keep an adequate work-life balance, which is tailoring him for burnout every day and particularly those days when he has a lot to do, like this particular day mentioned in the case. Chet’s role should be to assign roles to his middle-line managers and give them instructions to lead the lower-level workers, as the Organization Chart (Page 118) states, and then delegate boundaries to decide when they are going against the expectations of the company.
Chet’s biggest issue seems to be a life balance of both work, family and spiritual activities. Poor organizational skills are Chet’s main issues interfering with his effective time management. It is evident that Chet does not set boundaries when dealing with issues that may arise which are not his problem directly, it seems as though he also fails to plan his tasks properly by putting them in order of importance and giving himself time to complete them despite any issues that may arise. Managing unexpected obstacles and tasks will be essential to being able to be an effective manager which he has not yet mastered. Lastly, Chet’s inability to delegate tasks properly surely leads to his downfall in his inability to complete his own tasks because he is constantly taking on the work of others. Ensuring he has an effective team in place and continuing to team build will allow for more trusted effective delegation of time in turn improving Chet’s overall time management and productivity.
Advice that I would give Chet to help with manage time and stress in the workplace would be create a physical list of tasks that needs to be completed. This will allow him to prioritize his workload and delegate the smaller tasks. Set time aside to focus and work on accomplishing these important tasks. Evaluate and redesign the hierarchy structure, Chet has over 15 employees from different departments reporting into him, this leads to him feeling overwhelmed and stretched for time. Redesigning the hierarchy with identifiable units, for example: plant supervisors with the decision-making authority. This will increase skill variety, task identity (comprehensiveness), and autonomy. Set certain amount of time aside in his schedule for 1:1 with the plant supervisors, time can be utilized to review projects, delegated tasks, discuss or approved itesm. Each one of these suggestions will help Chet to effectively and efficient manage time and reduce any stress.