New insights on work, stress, and relationship skills

September 26, 2021

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New insights on work, stress, and relationship skills

New research published in the Journal of Employment Counseling indicates that when employees regard work demands as hindrances to achieving their goals, they become emotionally exhausted and consequently become disengaged from their job and are unable to balance their work and family roles.

The study, which included 218 employees working in public and private universities, also found that the relationship of emotional exhaustion with work-family conflict and job disengagement was stronger for those who had low social and EQ skills. They were also poor influencers and were unable to persuade others to act in ways that enhance their own objectives. There has been a lot of research lately which has shown that good relationship skills were the major factor in resilience.

What the researchers say: “Relating skills seem to serve as a salient personal resource for individuals in dealing with stressful work conditions, enabling them to better cope with stressors without becoming emotionally exhausted,” the authors wrote.

So, what? The results of this study are hardly surprising though it does show the direct link between work stress and the inability to cope in many other areas.

Pre-COVID work stress was rising at the rate of 70% every four years—a rate which is quite unsustainable, and which was already leading to an epidemic of burnout, depression, anxiety and a host of physical ills. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the situation is getting much worse due to the virus.

One of the main problems is, of course, that relationship skills are no longer observed or fostered at home to nearly the same extent as in the past. Young people are often more able to relate to machines than they are to other human beings. Thus, their resilience is falling, and their coping skills are declining.

For more on resilience click here.

Dr Bob Murray

Bob Murray, MBA, PhD (Clinical Psychology), is an internationally recognised expert in strategy, leadership, influencing, human motivation and behavioural change.

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