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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   March 2012

How to Manage Stress

Understand and overcome stressful situations in the mortgage industry

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, and mortgage professionals are no exception. Whatever the occupation, stress can affect a person’s job performance, decisionmaking, management ability and communication. For mortgage professionals, stress can even have an effect on the quality of their loan origination — from the underwriting of the loan itself to the efficiency with which it’s processed.

It’s important for mortgage professionals to know how they react to stressful situations and how they can adequately manage that stress, as well. Whether you’re a loan officer, broker, banker or manager, there is much to gain from learning more about stress management.

Although everyone is different, mortgage professionals tend to share a number of attributes. For instance, because of their driven personalities, brokers and originators may have difficulty working alone, tolerating inefficiency, sitting through lengthy meetings or dealing with a lack of response or feedback.

Mortgage professionals tend to focus on the external and deal with their work in a rational and logical manner. They are traditionalists who respect the law and hold themselves to high standards and belief systems. They frequently can offer a clear vision about how a certain process or operation should work and — in this way — they can serve as natural leaders.

In spite of these excellent qualities, many mortgage professionals can still react to stressful situations inadequately. For instance, their preference for facts and logic can make them feel isolated from others and, at times, can cause difficulties in communication. When stress is present, some originators or officers may have a difficult time putting their true feelings into words. Their professional loyalty can make them skeptical about someone who wishes to change their company’s traditions or procedures.

If you’re managing a team of mortgage professionals who fit this profile, you can relax in knowing that they have their company, colleagues and clients’ best interests at heart. Still, when dealing with potentially stressful situations such as company changes or reorganization, you must be able to keep stress levels in check. Here are five tips:

  1. Stick to the facts and work in a clear and logical way. Do your best to avoid speaking in generalities.
  2. Set an established time to talk with your team members about the given situation and keep them in the loop. Thorough communication is key, as is letting them have a voice in the decisionmaking process — if they so choose.
  3. If your company is undertaking changes to its processes or operations, be clear with your employees about exactly why these changes are occurring and mention specific details and facts. Offer a transparent picture of what is going on and be precise about any changes in the company’s guidelines, expectations, roles and responsibilities. These employees will likely be expecting clarity when it comes to the decisionmaking process, as well as the fairness and impartiality of the changes.
  4. Offer a concise plan of action, complete with defined outcomes and goals. If applicable, be sure to establish a time frame for each and every stage out of your company’s new plan or transition.
  5. Establish a clear statement of priorities and eliminate any possible surprises.

If you bear all of these points in mind and practice proper communication and understanding, you and your employees can weather even the most stressful scenarios.


 


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