Agency Stress Test

Let''s be honest, the past two years have been stressful. Stressful for agency owners, stressful for clients, stressful for employees, just plain stressful all around. From adapting to new ways of working to managing workloads in different ways to finding new ways to communicate with each other, the agency world has been forever changed by the past two years. But change does not come without complications. Honestly, too much change can be exhausting to the point that burnout can be a very real possibility. Now might be the perfect time to stop and ask yourself, how are we doing? 

The following checklist will allow you to take a small step in assessing the stress levels of your agency. Just pausing to answer a few simple questions could go a long way in detecting any danger signs of a breakdown due to overload.

If the statement is an accurate description of your agency’s current style or climate, write “YES” beside it; if it is not applicable to your situation or environment, write “NO.”

____ Members of my agency have to be trained to be team players. If a new team player has to be taught new job skills, or if a peer is experiencing a challenging situation, employees will not take the initiative to remedy the situation. 
____     Authority and power in the agency are in the hands of one person. 
____     The agency principal seldom passes information down to all levels of employees.  S/he rarely keeps each department briefed on what is happening in other departments of the agency. 

There is a lack of clear understanding of corporate goals and objectives.

____ Team members do not resolve disagreements easily. In the course of airing disagreements, individuals involved have a tendency to lose their tempers and become emotional. 
____     The agency principal maintains tight control over agency work functions and rarely delegates. 
____     Team members do not have sufficient information to know what is expected of them. 
____         Team members are unwilling to work hard to achieve goals. 
____ Employees display no sense of cohesiveness or team pride. 
____ Decisions in the agency are generally made with a lot of delay.
____ Team members don’t keep each other informed of what they are doing.
____ Energies are frequently dissipated through interpersonal bickering or the pursuit of personal ambitions.
____ Accidents/mistakes happen too often. 
____ Coercion is used to get staff members to make decisions and complete requests.
____ Conformity is overemphasized; blocks to independent thinking are frequently used.
____         Team members are concerned only with completing tasks and easily lose sight of the corporate goals. 
____ Kidding tends to be vicious and directed to certain members of the group.
____ Agency management does not support or back up the authority of next-level down supervisors or team leaders.
____ Disagreements and differences of opinions between employees and supervisors are not permitted in the agency.
____         Short cuts are used to get out of work or training.

YES's indicate: 

16-20  Agency is experiencing too much stress and is in danger of breakdown
11-15 Indicates a tendency to not handle stress productively.
6-10  Agency is reasonably healthy although stress is apparent