Stressed spelled backwards is Desserts!
Stress, depression and anxiety are the biggest reasons for employee absence! So what are you doing about it?
Man, up, get over it, keep going, stick it out, you’ll get over it. All phrases we have probably heard or been told at some or another. Being ex-military, I’ve heard them often, often with a few choice words and phrases also thrown in. But these are not helpful phrases. When we use these, we may think we are helping people but we not. What we actually saying is “You crack on and deal with this on your own”. It creates a false positive. This starts the vicious cycle of over thinking, ruminating and ultimately not being able to intelligently look after our own emotions.
Coping with stress and anxiety in the workplace needs action. It needs a plan, a strategy to help employees, leaders, managers build the support needed to effectively deal with it. Talking about stress is just the start. It’s true it’s good to talk and when we talk about these things it rationalises the issues in our brain and allows us to process it from a human perspective and the entangled web of unhelpful thoughts which are created because of stressful situations. More importantly having strategies in place can help develop a supportive, safe culture and ethos where people can openly discuss how they cope with stresses and anxieties of work pressures.
The good news is that if organisations who work together then it can be resolved and even better be prevented from reoccurring, but it needs actions and strategies. Give teams the empowerment to implement these themselves as well. Allow them to own their work/life balance and ultimately, we may just see better performing teams.
If you are in a leadership or management position it may be worth thinking differently about stress and one way would be to undertake some CPD. Talk to other leaders and managers about how they spot the signs and triggers within their team and then strategies they use. Share the knowledge! Some of the signs and triggers you may want to look out for in your team are:
Poor decision making – Not making rational sensible decisions and jumping to conclusions.
Forgetfulness – missing key tasks or the little things. When stressed your brain isn’t functioning effectively which in turn effects memory.
Irritability or changes in personality – although we all have changes in mood which effects our behaviours if some is unusually irritable it can be a sign of stress.
We can’t totally eliminate stressful situations and neither should we because we need to learn from experience to be able to cope with them. When we successfully cope with stresses and anxieties we are then able to make use of this experience and learn how to use it in future situations. Helping our teams deal with stress will ultimately result in higher performing teams and an organisational culture that is more productive and humanistic reducing staff turnover and absenteeism.
So as the title of this article suggests we can sweeten the working environment by helping our leaders and managers work with staff and remove the stigmatism associated with stress.