We all know one or two of them. They may be a friend, relative or co-worker. What they have in common is that they scatter stress like Tinkerbell scatters fairy dust. They are stress carriers. They often appear friendly and helpful, but they have a knack — and perhaps the intention — of making others feel inadequate or upset. They also are skillful at shifting their work or worries to others smoothly that you are left wondering how it happened.
It is easy to recognize a stress carrier by your reaction to him or her. You tense up each time they approach, and you are relieved when they move on. Or, you may find yourself puzzled by how you ended up with a new task or assignment, especially when the person is not in a position to delegate. This trick is a tribute to their manipulation talents.
The best approach is to avoid the stress carrier whenever possible. In the workplace, however, avoidance may prove difficult. If you are too negative, you can appear hostile or uncooperative. At the same time, you don’t want them to take advantage of you.
Humor can work. So can being a bit more direct. Saying something like, “Are you trying to shift your work to me again?” may be effective if said in a teasing or pleasant manner.
Changing how you react is another option. If you can recognize the situation, you can erect an emotional stress barrier to the stress carrier. Creating effective barriers may take some practice, but it is well worth the effort.
Photo Credit: bottled_void