As we approach the holiday season many hard-pressed managers and their teams will look forward to a well-deserved rest. Quite appropriately business entrepreneurs have just received a surprising gift. At a recent investment conference in Johannesburg South Africa’s President Ramaphosa declared:
“We should treat our entrepreneurs as heroes and move away from what we have been fed, where we treated our business people like enemies, called them white monopoly capital and all that. That must end today.”
This change of heart on the part of the government, or at least from Ramaphosa, is so welcome.
In our work with South African businesses we have noted the degree of stress managers operate under and the detrimental effect on their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Many not only spend long hours at the office, they take work home as well. Which means that they compromise family time, but also neglect their recovery time. And along with that comes the risk of burn-out and increased vulnerability to disease as a result of disturbed coherence.
Why are South African managers so stressed? Partly this has to do with the culture and atmosphere of the workplace, and with poor work-life balance habits. But it also had much to do with the stressed South Africa business environment. It does relate to the challenging period South Africa has just been through in which businesses were demonized, as emphasised by Ramaphosa. But it also relates to a whole range of contextual challenges; economic, skills and capacity shortages, technological change, etc.
Deloitte for example, surveyed the top five strategically important business trends for South Africa to help determine where management should focus. This is what they found:
Of significance is the gap between the identified trend and the readiness to do something about it. It emphasises how much work needs to be done to support management in developing the resources to cope with those important challenges. Hopefully under new political leadership, and with the accompanying change in the economic trajectory, you will now be better able to address these issues in the new year. You will also be able to reconsider, as we reported in the previous NEWS2USE, Ramaphosa’s call to keep jobs at all costs: See here.
This is not the time and place to examine these issues, we’ll look at them next year, but it is time to recognise the pressure under which management has operated. And that highlights the importance, now with the holiday season approaching, of taking the opportunity to properly recuperate. How then can you best optimise your holiday time?
In this previous edition of NEWS2USE we identified four qualities of experience that enable the state of coherence and so serve to enhance resilience. And there must be something that you can do in each case to generate that state of coherence during your holiday.
First we showed the power of appreciation. Christmas is the time to do that with loved-ones and friends. So take time to count your blessings. Rather than show appreciation by giving expensive gifts, show it through the quality of time you spend with them with the available resources you already have.
Secondly we identified the power of positive expectations. That’s what establishing new year’s resolutions is all about. So with the potentially improved economic climate how about establishing some really proactive goals – especially related to bringing more enduring value in your business context.
Thirdly we established the power of self-confidence. We mentioned ‘manageability’ in this edition of NEWS2USE, as contributing to that sense of coherence – having the skills to address worthwhile challenges. How about reflecting on what your next period of personal growth is about and setting some outcomes to learn something of value – something character strengthening.
Finally we highlighted the power of good relationships. The festive season surely is a time of goodwill: reconnect with the folks who are meaningful to you. And try to reach out to those who are less fortunate than you. It’s a time of giving, not of check-book charity variety, but of your presence, your humanity, and touching the humanity of others.
There’s no better way to feel good.
It is so easy to ignore the symptoms of stress – until often it is too late. Now there is technology that can evaluate your state of resilience, get real about how you are doing, and alert you to potential future challenges. By measuring your heart rate variability over time it clearly shows where and when you become stressed, and where and when you recover. By becoming aware of these conditions scientifically, and responding appropriately, it might just be one of the finest things you do for yourself you can give yourself – you deserve it.
Here is an article on how heartrate variability assessments have been used to enhance workforce wellbeing.
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