Best ways to deal with work stress
Q: Our company recently acquired another business. Workload and pressure to perform have increased. My team knows it’s temporary, however if we don’t manage our stress I’m afraid we’ll implode.
A: Your awareness of your team’s ability to cope is the first important step to managing this transition. When the brain is overstressed, executive functioning shuts down. People experience foggy thinking, poor decision making and memory loss. They are less patient, more reactive and make knee-jerk actions they often regret later.
THESE FIVE STEPS WILL HELP THEM DEAL WITH THE STRESS
1) Articulating emotions calms the brain so people can address it rather than bury it. Name what the team is experiencing in meetings or conversations. Suppressing reactions doesn’t work. They leak out in reactive ways when not acknowledged.
2) Ask the team what support would help with workflow: Getting temporary support, reprioritizing projects or negotiating delivery dates. Do whatever you can to make it happen, so your team feels some sense of control over their situation rather than being a victim to it.
3) Hold an inspiring vision. Keep the team focused on the big picture, the rewards and significance of their work. When people understand the ‘why’ they are more motivated to contribute to the larger purpose.
4) Reframe negative to positive, challenges to opportunities, hard to manageable. Reappraising from half empty to half full whenever possible feeds and maintains momentum.
5) Mindfulness is the most effective de-stressor. Focusing attention on the present helps let go of past regrets and worries about the future — which breed paralysis. Check in regularly with where people are at; ask what is working and what they’re proud of. Encourage frequent breaks, fresh air at lunch, leaving work at the office so people can recover to calm and their brains can reset.
Reprinted from The Province, March 27, 2016.