Any group or organization that strives to succeed with its goals will inevitably invite stress into the workplace. With your success comes: deadlines, expectations, setbacks, and the frustration of lack of time or resources while you and your staff work together to meet your objectives.
To avoid stress in the workplace is akin to accepting the status quo, which is rarely an effective recipe for long-term growth. So rather than preaching pointless exercises aimed at avoiding stress, it’s in your best interest to help your staff learn how to be resilient, in order to convert stress into problem-solving energy. Only then can your employees work cohesively with one another, because they’ll be prepared to productively handle any bumps along the way.
Why do we feel workplace stress to begin with?
Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects of workplace stress is that people don’t fully understanding its origin. People feel stress at the lack of resources they face, which can include:
- Not enough time to complete a task
- Not enough money
- Not being adequately skilled or experienced to fulfill a task
When you or your staff experiences this lack of resources, one of two things will happen:
- You attempt to make the problem smaller
- Or you attempt to make yourself bigger than the problem (with a “don’t sweat the small stuff” mentality)
The latter doesn’t adequately address the problem at hand. You can “not sweat the small stuff,” but that small stuff still exists, and will fester and grow over time. Rather the goal should be for you and your staff to realize that the necessary resources to complete a task are available … somewhere. You just have to know where to look. That’s why resiliency becomes an asset. It helps you to realize you have the ability to solve the problems at hand.
When your organization practices resiliency, problems and obstacles are no longer stumbling blocks of stress; rather they become challenges that can be overcome with a little bit of ingenuity.
Stress comes in many forms
Workplace stress can appear in many variations. It can occur as a result of conflicts with coworkers, miscommunication, or fear of performing under pressure. In fact, OSHA has declared stress the #1 hazard of the workplace, which can cause reduced productivity, worker’s compensation benefits and excessive absenteeism.
Personally speaking, stress is linked to 6 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.
But to be fair, it’s not necessarily stress that’s the culprit here, but rather how we deal with stress. Our innate response toward handling stress is to exaggerate the problem, invite a feeling of helplessness, or attempt to sweep the issue under the rug.
But when you and your organization learn to become resilient, stress will no longer be a precursor of negative connotations. It’ll become a step toward instilling positive change.
Introducing Resiliency Enhancement
Instilling a mindset of resiliency in the workplace takes more than just hard work and commitment. It also requires the support of a professional who has experience introducing this concept into an organization, and providing the type of ongoing materials and exercises necessary to nurture this behavioral shift. My work as a motivational speaker and coach for organizations throughout Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada has helped me to create a successful formula that can be adapted to every possible scenario and audience I come across. This formula includes three significant parts:
- The Peak-Performance Mind – Often related to athletes, yet we can all benefit from a peak-performance mind. This isn’t achieved by luck or chance; rather it’s something anyone can learn.
- Interpersonal and Intra-organizational Communication Skills – Communication skills are key toward your ability to work through stressful moments in your life.
- Stress Management Skills and Training – This includes mental, physical, and emotional training, which make up the building blocks to help you thrive.
Each of these components deserves extensive and specific attention in order to fully address the best way for you to learn the skills of resiliency. As such, over the next three articles, I’ll be teasing out each of these components of my Resilience Enhancement Program, in order to help you learn the skills required to look stress in the face, embrace it, and use it to empower you and your organization to make the changes you want and deserve.
Photo: Tomas Laurinavicius