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High Stress Warning Signs

Military leaders are taught the symptoms of acute stress so they can treat the symptoms and keep soldiers on the front line. In the worst situations, the Army has experienced the loss of as many soldiers to stress as to combat wounds. In the best of conditions, the loss to stress has been one soldier for every ten wounded by the enemy.

Corporate leaders don't have the same concerns about losing employees to enemy fire. However, they do lose employees to stress. The loss comes in the form of absenteeism, medical problems associated with stress, lower productivity, accidents, and poor performance.

Employees react the same as soldiers do to sleep deprivation, physical discomfort, too much work, and trauma. Some people are more susceptible to stress, but even the most tolerant have some reaction to stressful events.

The Army teaches leaders to watch for stress reactions such as anxiety, indecisiveness, argumentativeness, and irritability. The more severe stress reactions include memory loss, stuttering, crying, vacant stares, and strange behavior.

Negative stress reactions are considered normal in battle. Officers and sergeants are trained to control stress in their units rather than send troops to rear-area hospitals. Experience shows that most of the negative stress reactions of battle fatigue can be controlled by:

--confidence building

You can use the same remedies in the workplace when you observe negative stress reactions. Good managers control stress before it gets out of hand.

However, employees who suffer truly severe reactions need professional help. Talk with your human resources experts if you think someone might need a medical or mental health professional.

Get the entire list of mild and severe stress reactions as recognized by the US Army. Send email: MailTo:stresslist@c...

Stress control is a leadership responsibility. Spot stress reactions early and take action.

by Dale Collie

2004 by Courage Builders International

Dale Collie speaker, author, coach, and former US Army Ranger, corporate president,and teacher at West Point. Selected by "Fast Company" as one of America's Fast 50 innovative leaders. Author of "Frontline Leadership: From War Room to Boardroom" and "Winning Under Fire: Turn Stress into Success the US Army Way" (McGraw-Hill)

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