Stress management at work

Effective stress management is essential to maintain a happy, balanced life. Experts stress that good nutrition, sufficient sleep and healthy social interaction, are factors that not only boost well-being but also boost performance.

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Jo Sutherland, guest blogger at CMI postulates that mental health problems in the workplace consist an invisible threat that should not be undermined. Stress not only blocks productivity but also threatens the general well-being of the workforce.

‘A survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that 28 per cent of men and 19 per cent of women with mental health problems admitted they had not sought any help. It’s important, then, that managers understand the signs and establish the support networks necessary to ensure that nobody feels they have to suffer in silence.’

Source: CMI

According to Robinson et al. (2008) in order to fight stress in an effective manner, it is crucial to identify its sources. One of the most effective stress management techniques is applying the four As: avoid, alter, adapt and accept.

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Avoid consists of ‘learning to say no’, knowing one’s limits and sticking to them, avoid taking excess responsibility, recognizing necessary responsibility and avoiding excessive workload. Furthermore, alter consists of altering unavoidable situations, releasing stressful feelings by expressing them, ‘be willing to compromise’ and maintain a ‘balanced schedule.’ What’s more, adapt consists of willing to change oneself instead of the ‘stressor’, change the viewing perspective to a more positive, ‘look at the big picture’, adjust one’s standards to a reasonable level, avoid perfectionism, and ‘practice gratitude.’ Likewise, accept refers to acceptance of whatever is beyond one’s control. Instead of trying to control the ‘uncontrollable’ and changing the ‘unavoidable’, one can practice positive, optimistic behaviour, willingness to forgive and move further. Similarly, sharing feelings with a friend or an expert may be proved to be ‘cathartic’, reducing the burden and suffocation caused by stress.

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   Another key thing to remember, as Robinson et al. (2008) posit, activities are especially helpful in stress management, more specifically rhythmic exercise. Not only activities but also ‘connecting to others’ is equally important as interaction triggers body hormones that relieve stress naturally. Coupled with the above, ‘fun and relaxation’ play an important role in stress management as they pro-act rest and ‘recharge’ one with energy. Uninterrupted breaks, enjoyable activities and maintaining a ‘sense of humor’ help stress fighting. Another important factor that can help in stress relief is effective time management. Avoiding over-committing to tasks or scheduling activities that take place constantly, without breaks is crucial. Accurate task estimation and prioritization, project fragmentation and ‘delegating responsibility’ may be effective time management techniques. Coupled with the above techniques maintaining a healthy lifestyle is equally important. Sufficient sleep, good quality food and a healthy, nutritious diet avoiding unhealthy foods and damaging substances boost energy and productivity. Finally, one needs to bear in mind that releasing stress ‘in the moment’ is helpful in stress management. Breathing techniques, listening to music or hugging a pet may have a positive effect in stress relief as well. The success of the suggested stress management methods vary depending on the individual.

References

Robinson, L., Smith, M., & Segal, R. (2018). Stress management. HelpGuide.org. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

CMI: How accidental management drains productivity in the UK

Surprisingly, Great Britain has a low productivity problem!

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Surprisingly, Great Britain has a low productivity problem!

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) outlines that there is a low productivity problem in Britain.

‘Research from the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics proves that with the country scoring just 3.03 out of five for management best practice, behind the US (3.31), Japan (3.23), Germany (3.21) and Canada (3.14)’.

Source: CMI

But why does this problem prevail? What is the root of the problem?

CMI’s research reveals that four out of five managers in Great Britain are ‘accidental’ managers (2.4 million people in leadership positions) that lack sufficient training or underperforming. In the article ‘The curse of the accidental manager CMI describes how ‘accidental’ managers are created. They are workers who excel in their positions therefore, they are rewarded with the managerial role without the necessary training. Several views about accidental managers have been expressed at CMI Midlands Regional Conference and awards at the ICC Birmingham. It is worth taking a look at what several managers think about the curse of accidental managers.

Courtesy of CMI

According to CMI’s Management Manifesto published in 2017, research reveals that effective management can benefit any organisation. Moreover, productivity and performance increase if managers undertake the necessary training. Furthermore, organisations that apply leadership development programmes are 32% more productive and have 23% better results.

CMI’s chief executive Ann Francke emphasizes on training and practice to achieve efficient management.

“The principles of management are stunningly simple, yet so few get it right. Being a good manager is about training and practice. A natural runner may have a talent for running, but they won’t win a race or complete a marathon without practice and training. The same is true for a good manager.”

Ann Francke, Chief Executive Officer, CMI
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There are many managers who believe training is not necessary and fail to deliver outcomes as they find it hard to act according to their role. Others believe that hard work is enough and it can potentially help them overcome their deficiencies. Finally, some are unwillingly accepting managerial roles.

CMI warns:

‘poor management is estimated to cost the UK £84bn in lost productivity a year – £9bn more than the £75bn that the Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated could be lost every year by 2030 if the UK left the single market.’

Source: CMI

CMI emphasizes on the government’s Apprenticeship Levy that is a funding scheme that may actually serve as a solution to the ‘accidental’ management problem. Funding from the scheme can be used by employers, to fund their apprentices.

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CMI provides graduate students that join apprenticeship schemes with the Chartered Manager Degree status. In this respect CMI has worked closely with 40 Universities, colleges and several businesses and provides the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. The apprenticeship aims to help on the one hand students to get experience and training and on the other hand, employers to benefit from the government’s Apprenticeship levy.

Universities UK has said that the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship could become the most popular of the new degree-level apprenticeships and could account for over a third (36%) of all new apprenticeships next year.

Source: CMI

This new breed of professional fully-trained managers are hope for businesses all over Britain as they are expected to play a pivotal role to the increase of productivity that has been a huge problem for years.

The Quantum-AI era

We are living in an era of Artificial Intelligence, and Quantum Computing. The present state of AI, is beyond any previous speculation as it has reached a point at which it functions without the necessity of human interference..

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We are living in an era of Artificial Intelligence, and Quantum Computing. On the one hand, the present state of AI, has surpassed previous speculations as it has reached a point at which it functions without the necessity of human interference. It can perform many human-like functions such as learning, code authoring, movement and imitation of expressions based on feelings. On the other hand, quantum computing has multiplied the speed, performance and power by which traditional computers used to work and minimized response time to unimaginable shortage. In light of this information, it is obvious that the combination of those areas can significantly change the future of humanity; and this is why they are interesting (from a scientific perspective).

Courtesy of CGTN America

History has shown that humans today developed through many stages of evolution. There were revolutionary moments or times that shaped the future of humanity along the years such as the discovery of fire, the Golden Age of Greece, the Renaissance, or the Industrial revolution. Similarly, the new millennium has risen with an immense uplift on technology and more specifically on Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Who could have imagined back then just after World War II, when the first computer was built at the University of Illinois (Illinois.edu, 2018) that today’s computational intelligence would reach such a degree that it could even produce software? That robots would be able to perform human like tasks (Boston Dynamics, 2018) and they would even behave like humans with feelings (Hanson Robotics, 2018).  The above facts are not fragments of fiction taken from the Iasaak Asimov’s (positronic) Robot series (Wikipedia, 2017).

Courtesy of Boston Dynamics

AI (as it is today), exceeds past speculations about its present state and at the same time leaves ground for ambiguous comments such as Elon Musk’s predictions about it being a menace for the human species (in total) or even being the cause of World War III (Thompson, 2017). 

Courtesy of CNET

However, artificial intelligence is a concept that was conceived in order to help humanity, not destroy it. One would wonder if AI maintains such strength as to train robots how to walk in just some hours (Thompson, 2017) or to minimize the time it would need to conclude the cure to a disease.  The game Go, one of the oldest and more complex games in human history can serve as an example here.

Courtesy of Deep Mind

The Alpha Go Zero (Silver et al., 2017) program used AI algorithms that resulted to mastering the Go game starting from zero level simply by playing game matches with itself for some hours. An equivalent process for a human would take years. Alpha Go Zero is the best Go player in game history until now; it has discovered new approaches in the way the Go game is played, and changed the way it was perceived (until recently).

Quantum computing is a relatively new research subject in science that brings together quantum physics and computers. The power of quantum computing is at a significantly higher level compared to traditional computing. To give an illustration of this, according to quantumcomputingreport.com (2018) there are several different fields where quantum computing can be applied and solve problems that humanity is facing. In machine learning, chemistry, financial portfolio optimization, logistics and scheduling, cyber-security, code-breaking and fault simulation (system, software and circuit). 

Courtesy of Microsoft

The greatest companies in the world have formed research departments in the process of democratizing quantum computing. According to Knight (2017) the research department at IBM is demonstrating significant progress in the field as it created a 50-qubit quantum computer.  Other companies such as Google, Intel, a start-up called Righetti and Microsoft (2018) are also trying to gain ground in the field of quantum computing.  However, due to its immense power to radically change the world as we know it, quantum computing has triggered fearful reactions (Dolev, 2018) filled with doubt regarding cyber-security and privacy.

Courtesy of Microsoft HoloLens

In conclusion, AI combined with the power of quantum computing opens endless possibilities that have the potential to reshape the world; either in a positive or negative way. There is no doubt that humanity is currently witnessing a new era where what people perceive as impossible is becoming possible. It is upon our hands to utilize the new technologies as a tool to solve problems that would increase the quality of people’s lives, and not as something that will act against it.

References

Bostondynamics.com. (2018). Changing Your Idea of What Robots Can Do. Retrieved from https://www.bostondynamics.com/robots

Dolev, S. (2018, January 5). The quantum computing apocalypse is imminent. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/05/the-quantum-computing-apocalypse-is-imminent/

Hansonrobotics.com. (2018). We bring robots to life. Retrieved from http://www.hansonrobotics.com/

Illinois.edu. (2018). History timeline. Retrieved from https://cs.illinois.edu/about-us/history-timeline

Knight, W. (2017, November 10). IBM Raises the Bar with a 50-Qubit Quantum Computer. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609451/ibm-raises-the-bar-with-a-50-qubit-quantum-computer/

Quantumcomputingreport.com. (2018). The Best Applications for Quantum Computing. Retrieved from https://quantumcomputingreport.com/our-take/the-best-applications-for-quantum-computing/

Silver et al. (2017). Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24270.epdf?author_access_token=VJXbVjaSHxFoctQQ4p2k4tRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0PVW4gB86EEpGqTRDtpIz-2rmo8-KG06gqVobU5NSCFeHILHcVFUeMsbvwS-lxjqQGg98faovwjxeTUgZAUMnRQ

Thompson, C. (2017, December 9). 11 wild predictions Elon Musk has made about the future. Retrieved from http://uk.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-predictions-2017-8/#humans-will-need-to-become-part-robot-to-survive-11

Wikipedia 2017. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_series_(Asimov)

The Social Super Manager

According to the Chartered Manager Institute (CMI) in the UK management in the 21st century will be changing its traditional form.

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Thank you for joining the Social Super Manager blog! This blog aims to connect social media to management and technology.

The reasoning and inspiration behind the blog’s name and merging those different yet interconnected disciplines is based on an article posted by the Chartered Manager Institute (CMI). According to CMI, management in the 21st century will be changing its traditional form. In the article ‘The dawn of the Super-Manager is upon us‘, CMI claims:

‘a new breed of leaders who are data-savvy and comfortable with making decisions on data points is rising. They are the ‘super-managers of the future’.

CMI: The dawn of the Super-Manager is upon us
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Importantly, super managers will be highly-skilled and experienced individuals that will be able to combine science with their managerial instinct and intelligence in order to solve problems and help their business grow. Indeed this new era of managers is rising!

‘Judgement will be paramount in super-managers. They will understand the data and the human impact. They will combine digital aptitude with creative thinking, and the ability and the motivation to analyse data.’

CMI: The dawn of the Super-Manager is upon us

Moreover, Maggie Buggie CCMI, global head of SAP Leonardo Services, recognizes that these new effective managers are going to become the norm as they will combine data science and emotional intelligence. Buggie characterizes the whole process as magical and recognizes that companies will constantly be in the need for ‘top-line growth.’

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From my perspective, obviously for years during the ‘post digital era’ it has become quite clear that management should be combined to technology. The world has changed and pretty much every aspect of businesses has changed. All things considered the equation is not complete if the ‘social’ element is not there. This is how the Social-Super-Manager was born.

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