On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751
Tydskr. geesteswet. vol.48 n.4 Pretoria 2008
The relation between stress and self-leadership characteristics among a group of first-line supervisors working in a state organisation
Ebben van Zyl
Departement Bedryfsielkunde Universiteit van die Vrystaat Bloemfontien, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nieteenstaande die feit dat eerstelyntoesighouers aan 'n breë spektrum van stressors blootgestel word, is min navorsing beskikbaar om die verband tussen stres en selfleierskapfaktore by die groep uit te wys. Navorsing dui aan dat selfleierskapvaardighede 'n belangrike hulpmiddel kan wees om stresvlakke te verminder. Daarom is besluit om die verband tussen stres en selfleierskapfaktore by 'n groep Suid Afrikaanse eerstelyntoesighouers werksaam in 'n staatsorganisasie, te bepaal. Resultate van 'n sodanige navorsing kan sielkundiges/werkgewers help om 'n spesifieke benadering in kommunikering en hantering van probleme met die spesifieke groep, te handhaaf. Ten einde die verband tussen stres en selfleierskapfaktore te bepaal, is die 16- PF Persoonlikheidsvraelys en die Hersiende Selfleierskap Vraelys, op 'n geleentheidsteekproef van 69 eerstelyntoesighouers, afgeneem. Resultate het aangedui dat die volgende selfleierskapfaktore met stres verband hou: selfvergoeding, fokus gedagtes op natuurlike vergoeding /positiewe aspekte van werk, visualisering van suksesvolle prestasie, selfobservasie en selfdoelwitstelling. Verder het selfleierskap as 'n geheel beduidend met vindingrykheid en beslistheid gekorreleer. In die lig van die bogenoemde, is enkele aanbevelings gemaak.
Trefwoorde: Stres, selfleierskap,eerstelyntoesighouer, staatsorganisasie, selfvergoeding, selfobservasie, selfdoelwitstelling, visualiseer suksesvolle prestasie, fokus denke op natuurlike vergoeding, vindingrykheid
The world is characterized by political, social and economic environmental changes. Africa and Southern Africa is no exception to this global revolution that is sweeping over managerial and organizational thinking. Internationalisation, for instance, brought along world competition which pressurizes companies to utilise their potential more fully. Stress experienced by managers and employees is an outcome of the abovementioned circumstances and needs to be handled.
The South African first-line supervisor in particular is experiencing high levels of stress due to the fact that different needs of subordinates and top management need to be accomodated. Furthermore, research indicated that first-line supervisors often possess inadequate power which makes it difficult to enforce instructions. In the state sector, first-line supervisors have inadequate financial resources making it difficult to plan and implement strategies.
Notwithstanding the fact that first-line supervisors experience a broad spectrum of stress, limited research is available that describes the relationship between stress and self-leadership characteristics. Researchers indicated that self-leadership characteristics can be an important tool for supervisors to reduce stress levels. It was decided therefore to determine the relation between stress and self-leadership factors among a group of South African first-line supervisors working in a state organisation. This information can help psychologists/employers to maintain a distinctive approach in communicating and handling problems with the specific group. In order to determine the relation between stress and self-leadership characteristics, the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire as well as The Revised Self-Leadership Questionnaire were applied on an occasional sample of 69 first-line supervisors. Results showed significant relations between the following self-leadership characteristics and stress: self-reward, focus thoughts on natural rewards/positive aspects of tasks, visualizing successful performance, self-observation and self-goal setting. Furthermore self-leadership as a whole correlates with decisiveness and resourcefulness. In the light of the abovementioned results, it is recommended that first-line supervisors reward themselves for good performance (for instance to take time off) and to focus on those tasks which are inherently rewarding. To visualise successful performance, to observe own performance and to set objectives out of that, can also help to reduce stress levels amongst first-line supervisors in the state sector.
The abovementioned self-leadership strategies should therefore be included in stress management courses offered to first-line supervisors working in the state sector. Resourcefulness and decisiveness (to prefer taking own decisions and to experience feelings of security, calmness and confidence in self) can also be included in stress management courses.
By implementing the abovementioned recommendations, high levels of stress amongst first-line supervisors can be reduced in a pro-active way which will help to improve productivity levels.
Keywords: Stress, selfleadership, first-line supervisors, state organisation, self-reward, self-observation, self-goalsetting, visualising successful performance, focus thoughts on natural rewards, resourcefulness
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Professor Ebben van Zyl is tans Professor in die Departement Bedryfsielkunde (Universiteit van die Vrystaat). Sy werkloopbaan begin by die Uraan Verrykingsorganisasie gedurende 1981 as 'n Mannekragbenuttingsbeampte waarna hy as 'n Personeelbeampte te Lyttelton Ingenieurswerke (1983-1984) werk. Hy werk daarna as Senior Personeel Beampte by die Stadsraad van Pretoria (1984-1986) en begin sy akademiese loopbaan aan die Technikon RSA (1986-1989) as dosent, daarna as navorser by die Raad vir Geesteswetenskaplike Navorsing (1989-1994) en laastens as Professor aan die Universiteit van die Vrystaat (1994 -). Hy was die stigter van die Eenheid vir Leierskapstudies in die Fakulteit Ekonomiese en Bestuurswetenskappe (2002). Hy dien ook as Voorsitter van die Departement Bedryfsielkunde (1 Januarie 2004 tot 1 Januarie 2007). Professor Van Zyl publiseer 28 wetenskaplike publikasies en 42 navorsingsprojekte en lewer 30 referate by nasionale en internasionale konferensies. Sy spesialisareas is menslike hulpbronbestuur, etiese gedrag en werkstres.
Professor Ebben van Zyl is currently Professor in the Department of Industrial Psychology (University of the Free State). His working career started at the Uranium Enrichment Corporation in 1981 as a Manpower Utilisation Officer, after which he worked as a Personnel Officer at Lyttelton Engineering Works (1983-1984) and subsequently as a Senior Personnel Officer at the City Council of Pretoria (1984-1986). His academic/research career started at the Technikon RSA (1986-1989) as a Lecturer. He then worked as Chief Researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council (1989-1994) and after that at the University of the Free State (1994 to date) as a Professor. He was the founder of the Unit for Leadership Studies in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (2002). He chaired the Department of Industrial Psychology as from 1 January 2004 to 1 January 2007. Professor Van Zyl published 28 scientific publications as well as 42 research projects and presented 30 papers at national and international conferences with regard to industrial psychology related topics. His specialist fields are human resource management, ethical behaviour and workstress.