Identifying who can cope with stress in your organisation; who is more easily distressed?

Terry Elmaleh, Johannesburg, South Africa

A person who feels stressed can be described as someone who is experiencing his present surrounding environment in an unwanted or unpleasant way - with negative energy. By trying to cope with this the person feels distressed, tired and anxious. Stress is, by and large, the imbalance that a person suffers from when the discrepancy between what is expected of him and what he is capable of starts to bother him. Causes of stress can be real or perceived; what is important is that the person is disturbed by them.


Some people need only a small trigger before the feelings of distress begin whilst others can take vast amounts of pressure before they succumb to the hazards of stress.

In small amounts stress can be helpful, motivating and lead to increased productivity and can push a person to achieve his best. However being in a constant state of stress leads to impaired physical, social, and psychological health. A person’s relationships, moods, sleep patterns and quality of life and work can be seriously affected.

Causes of stress at work:


  • Too cold, too hot, too humid, too isolated, too crowded, too noisy, too quiet

  • Overwork and responsibility

  • Underwork and boredom leading to frustration

  • Personal health problems

  • Group pressure

  • Conflicts

  • Perceived threat especially to one’s own values and goals

  • Lack of control over events and workload, real or perceived

  • Common everyday negative life experiences

  • Lack of support from colleagues and managers

  • Lack of structure and definition in job description

  • Inflexible work hours or excessive work hours especially for mothers

  • Lack of training and learning

Knowing whether a potential employee is prone to “unhealthy stress” is an invaluable piece of information for a company in deciding whether this person is an appropriate fit for the position, promotion or move to a different department. An individual who is suffering from “unhealthy” stress and whose life is being affected by this stress is easily identified by their handwriting.

When directly asking a prospective employee predictive questions about his ability to contain stress levels, it is fairly easy for the person to pre-empt what he is being asked and therefore feign what he perceives to be a correct answer.

Handwriting analysis reveals the individual’s real personality which he is incapable of masking with his handwriting. For example, it is fairly easy to assume what an interviewer is getting at when he asks: “Do you let go of your anger easily?” Anyone who would want this job and who realises the consequences of replying “Not for about a week” would automatically say “Absolutely!”

Many leaders are poorly trained to lead others and are then ineffective in leading their teams. Often they are so stressed out by demands from top management and having to deliver on these demands with scarce resources that they pass this stress onto their teams. Lowered efficiency and performance are often the first signs of a stressful work environment. Graphology can be of great assistance in this area.

A potential leader’s handwriting should be screened for his ability to remain focused, his possession of a positive attitude and flexibility as these would be dominant traits for anyone in a successful leadership position.

By analyzing a person’s handwriting it can be determined whether the person is, for example, emotionally intelligent, self-confident, in control and coping with his present circumstances. In addition it would be important to know whether the managerial candidate is able to bounce back from stress and adversity.

Some people self-generate stress such as those that lack assertiveness, are pessimistic, engage in negative self-talk and those who have unrealistic expectations of their environment and themselves. Graphology can be used as a tool for identifying emotionality, lack of concentration, tensed muscles, fatigue, feelings of helplessness, agitation, a person’s sense of not having accomplished anything, defense mechanisms at work and a lack of commitment – all signs of stress.


Graphology effectively identifies those prospective employees whose stress levels would not be an adverse factor from those who suffer from “unhealthy”, demotivating stress.


DISCLAIMER: The reports that I provide consitute my own personal forensic examiner/professional graphologist/statement analyser expertise and opinion. All reports are treated as confidential. No handwriting analyses will be undertaken without agreement to terms and conditions which include the consent of the writer except for forensic handwriting examination cases where consent is not always available.  Terry Elmaleh +27(0)825567121

© 2016 Handwriting Analyst