Recognizing and Assessing Stress in Others

  • Jane Cranwell-Ward
  • Alyssa Abbey


As Chapter 16 made clear, it is important for managers, in upholding their duty of care, to be able to spot signs and symptoms of stress early, before an employee is in distress. A big challenge for managers is that people are good at hiding signs of stress — from others and themselves. A frequent comment from those people who have had nervous breakdowns or suffered other serious stress-related illness is, “I didn’t see it coming.” Part of the reason for this is that once people feel stressed, their brains do not work completely logically. They may understand that they feel under pressure, their stomach hurts every afternoon, they are getting frequent headaches, or their home relationships are deteriorating, but they may not equate this to being near “distress.” Because they want to be capable and perform well, they often think they just need to work harder in order to regain control! People can be resistant to the idea that they are stressed: on being asked: “How are you?,” the stressed person is likely to answer: “Fine.” (Chapter 19 will look at how managers can build rapport and get more realistic and honest answers about employee stress levels.) This chapter explores:
  • Individual signs and symptoms of stress that may be detectable in others

  • Organizational symptoms of high stress levels and what managers can do.


High Stress Level Body Language Pitched Voice Stressed Person Organizational Stress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Jane Cranwell-Ward and Alyssa Abbey 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Cranwell-Ward
  • Alyssa Abbey

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