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Getting to the Root of the Problem!

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Stressed? You’re not alone! No one is resistant to it. It’s just the way people handle their stress that makes a difference. If you are struggling to cope with stress and to find sustainable solutions, this blog is going to show you how to get to the bottom of your stress problems. And as everyone knows, getting to the root of a problem is already half the battle.




Sometimes a member of staff will report that they are overloaded and are under more pressure than usual. In some cases the reasons will be apparent to them and they will not hesitate to tell you the cause. In other cases they might not be sure themselves. Even if they can identify the causes they may be reluctant to disclose the real reason and offer a more general phrase such as “my workload is heavy”. These individuals could be reporting the first signs of stress. It may help to use the checklist on the next page to see what has changed in their work that has triggered this extra pressure.


You can use this list of possible causes to identify what has changed and what is causing the additional pressure. It is not anticipated that you go through this as a tick box exercise with the employee concerned, but use it more as an aide memoire so that you can cover a wide range of possibilities. Remember, this is a fact-finding exercise not a counselling interview. This tool should not be used with anyone who is already showing signs of being disturbed or stressed. It should not be used to discover and discuss feelings.


Once the problem has been identified, you can then move on to discuss whether the situation can be changed. Try to involve them in identifying the solution, using questions like “What would need to happen to improve this situation?”, “What would you like to see changed?”



Getting to the Root of the Problem Checklist

What has changed?


Remember to use open questions – why, when, where, what, how, who?

additional duties

  • where are they coming from
  • is it permanent or seasonal
  • is it being received from elsewhere via matrix management or customer requests
  • change of duties

staff shortages

      • are they temporary
      • are they off sick
      • are their absences stress-related
      • is everybody pulling their weight

is equipment working well

has the environment changed

      • office location
      • overcrowding
      • housekeeping issues, lighting, noise, cleaning etc

are there new managers, team members

has the shift pattern changed

is there confusion about roles

was there a specific incident

– is the employee in overall good health

– have there been changes in their domestic situation

– have they received training for the job



Did you find this article helpful? Download the eBook “Learn How to Live Stress-Free!”, by Carole Spiers and learn more!

Learn How to Live Stress-Free!