IT Managers Need To Know All About Stress

by drjim on May 24, 2018

IT managers want to know why we choke in stressful situations

IT managers want to know why we choke in stressful situations
Image Credit: Kayla Sawyer

Being an IT manager is not an easy thing to do. There are many different people asking us to do things for them and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. What happens to us is that as we make our way through the day, our stress level starts to rise. Although this is a natural occurrence, it can start to cause problems for us. The one thing that we don’t want to have happen is for us to find ourselves in a stressful situation where we then end up choking.

Why So Much Stress?

At lot of the reasons for why IT managers feel so much stress related to our jobs has to do with the nature of our work. We are responsible for a team of highly trained technical professionals who are looking to us to tell them what they should be doing. Making sure that we know what the high level goals for the team are and then breaking them down into individual work assignments can be a real challenge. Once we’ve done this, we are still responsible for making sure that when everyone has done their work, the collection of their work will solve the issue that caused the project to be created in the first place.

Our jobs do not exist in a vacuum. Rather we are just one person who is working in an environment that has many other people in it. This means that at any point in time we may be interrupted by someone who has an immediate need for some information that we are the only person who has it. This kind of interruption can be jarring and can keep us from completing the tasks that we feel are more important. The net result of this is going to be an increase in the level of stress that we are feeling.

Sadly, what the researchers have discovered is that we have the ability to turn just about anything into a stressful situation. There are a number of different situations where we can choke up. One is when we are called on to speak in a meeting and we feel that we are not prepared. Another is when we are talking with somebody that we view as being important. A classic cause of stress occurs when we overthink our actions. We can become confused when we think too much about our actions.

What Can We Do About Our Stress?

If we can agree that stress is a bad thing and that we’d like to find ways to reduce the amount of stress that there is in our lives, this then brings up the interesting question of just exactly how we should go about doing this. What I think that we’d all like to have is a collection of things that we could do that would allow us to reduce our level of stress at different points in time.

The researchers have discovered one way to lower your stress. If you can take the time to write down what is worrying you before you enter into a situation where those worries will become real, then you’ll have a way to deal with your stress. It turns out that when we are worried about something, it can capture and take over our attention – we can’t focus on other things. If you can take the time to write your worries down, then will make your worries both concrete and will prevent them from distracting you going forward.

Other things that we can do in order to do a better job of dealing with stress have to do with what we do with our body. If you have a big meeting coming up where you anticipate that you may become stressed, taking a walk outside before the meeting can help you to get a handle on your stress. If you start to feel the physical effects of becoming stressed, then you need to have a talk with yourself and convince yourself that you are just excited about what is coming up.

What All Of This Means For You

Stress is one of those things that probably makes us human. However, as IT managers we can all too easily find ourselves getting into situations where we feel that stress is starting to overwhelm us. What we need to do is to better understand what stress is and how we can manage it.

The reasons that IT managers find themselves experiencing so much stress are many and varied. The nature of our work seems to place us in situations where we can be asked to do so many different things that our stress level can easily shoot up. It turns out that we have the ability to turn just about any situation into a stressful situation. If we find ourselves in one of these situations, then we can take the time to write down what is causing us stress. This will allow us to not spend as much time thinking about those things that are causing us stress. Additionally, taking walks or reprogramming our brains can help us to deal with any stress that we are feeling.

There is no way that we are going to be able to eliminate stress completely from our lives. Instead, what IT managers are going to have to get good at doing is finding ways to deal with it. If we can take the time to understand what is causing us to experience stress, than we can take action to minimize it and to then move on with the tasks that our team needs to accomplish.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If specific people are causing you stress, how should you handle this?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’m pretty sure that we can all agree that we don’t know everything. However, if we had the chance to learn some new information, would we jump at the opportunity? Somewhat surprisingly, the answer is often “no”. IT managers can have a nasty habit of not wanting to learn something that they think is going to be bad news. What’s going on here?

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