The Leaders Advisory Blog

To unite the two most crucial parts of business: the results that come, and the people who create them.


By Tony Walmsley

Stress is bad. Stress kills.

Stress is bad. How stressed are you? How stressed do you feel? Left unchecked, stress can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. It is serious business. Stress kills.

From a business perspective stress is the number one cause of absenteeism with thousands of sick days taken every year. Prior to that, performance deteriorates, productivity goes down. Relationships suffer.

The cost of mental health problems to UK employers was almost £35 billion last year.

Center for Mental Health

As a coaching business we like to live in the present, with a future outlook on what is possible and it is important to continue to develop our understanding in this area. We know the right amount of stress, eustress, underpins optimal performance, so It makes sense to eliminate the cause of harmful stress, where we can, to get ahead of the problem.

This article captures how understanding personality in context can enable positive change to good effect in the workplace and at home.

First an example.


This is best case/worst case for different people. Same environment. It may sound far-fetched, but a) is what being in an unnatural state feels like for some people. Sustained, it is very unhealthy.

A more practical example would be, If you are asking people to speak up in group situations constantly without assessing whether this is OK for them, without careful management, this can impact the wellbeing of your staff. From a performance perspective, this is under achieving by design.

Changing the Environment

One explanation for stress is a mismatch between your personality and your environment. If you need to adapt your natural preferences over a sustained amount of time, effectively becoming someone you are not, you are likely to become stressed.

I am currently trying to off-load all of the tasks that drain my energy so I can focus on the things I love to do.

This holds true at work and at home. Adjusting the working environment that creates a more natural operating state is simple, but massively effective. Trying to change personality is like putting IOS App onto and Android and expecting harmony. No chance. Small adjustments can have an immediate impact on stress levels.

It Is Who We Are

It is our approach as determined by our personality, not the environment itself that is stressful. Put someone with high attention to detail into a role that demands it works. Failure to do so not only designs underachievement, but has more negative consequences on wellbeing.

“My way or the highway” works for lots of managers, but not for their teams. Where it can have an impact is when everyone in the team has been selected by assessment, as aligned and deemed a good fit for that model.Without the assessment, it is a recipe for disaster.

This is why understanding ourselves and our colleagues is essential.

Introvert + too much interaction with other people = Stressed

Extrovert + too little interaction with other people = Stressed

If we want to improve productivity and wellbeing, put the right people in the right environment and check the ROI.

Asking if I’m Stressed Just Stresses Me Out.

I consulted with a tech company who regularly captured employee feedback around ‘how happy are you’, ‘how stressed are you’ etc. This approach is nonsense in the context of working out what needs to change.

A better question is, if you continue to do what you’re doing are you placing yourself in harm’s way? A personality report, applied in context, should inform you and your manager of your optimum environment, plus how long you can cope, or if you are asking for trouble.

This is so easy to do and yet is so often overlooked. We address engagement in other articles, not here, but check out the statistics on engagement, productivity and wellbeing In the modern workplace. Assess whether a small investment in embedding value into the environment, for your people, is worth it.

Then work out if the cost of doing nothing is worth it.

Taking Stress Home, or Bringing it to Work?

Opposites attract for sure and then people try to work out how to build meaningful relationships. The greatest pleasure in life comes from our closest relationships, but the people we love most can be the same people who raise our stress levels the most.

When we take what we learn about personality in business and apply it to home, and vice versa, the growth in understanding can help to reduce and even eliminate highly stressful incidents that can change the quality of life significantly.

This ability to understand someone’s personality helps develop acceptance and appreciation of what makes us all unique. It fosters trust, collaboration and cohesion. The statistics are there to guide us, to learn from, and they are compelling

Stress accumulates incrementally. Often unseen. Profiling puts you ahead of the problem from an environmental perspective and coaching can help leaders with the rest.

Avoiding stress in your life must be good and the impact is not just on health, but on happiness too.

The Leaders Advisory is a Performance Coaching and Leadership Development organisation that uses applied psychology to help companies improve their engagement, productivity, and wellbeing. Tony Walmsley, founder is a Performance Coach and Profiling Specialist with a 30-year history as a business leader, professional football manager and coach educator.

Written by Tony Walmsley