Published: April 12, 2023 | Comments
How does stress affect you? Do you get a headache, start to overeat, or lose concentration? Do you panic, become anxious, or shut down? Do you have a high stress tolerance level or do small amounts of stress immediately have a negative effect on you?
More importantly, do you know how your team reacts to stress?
Job stress is the major source of stress for adults, with 40% of workers reporting their job as very or extremely stressful. Twenty-five percent of workers view jobs as the number one stressor in their lives, and almost one in five respondents quit a previous position due to job stress.
We all react to stress differently; it affects our mind and body, and a lot of stress can lead to physical and mental problems. In the United States, the cost of stress-related illness and injury were estimated at more than $300 billion.
Here are some of the negative effects of stress on your organization:
The impact of workplace stress on our teams and organizations is immense, and building a stress-resistant team is essential to ensuring the sustainable success of our teams. Let’s look at some strategies that can help us build stress-resistant teams:
Talk about the importance of stress management
As a leader, you are instrumental in nurturing the work culture and environment. Regularly highlighting the importance of stress management through early detection, speaking up, and demonstrating self-care shows that you take the mental health and well-being of your team members seriously.
Solicit feedback from your team members. Ask them what their stress levels are, how they are managing their stress, and if the work environment and workload are negative contributors to their work-life-balance. If your team members are feeling stressed, encourage and motivate them to utilize stress-reducing tactics.
Make psychological safety key
Create an environment of psychological safety, as it improves workplace wellness and is critical for resilience. A team with high psychological safety is one where employees can raise concerns and share ideas and perspectives without fear. Encourage team members to speak up, express themselves, admit to mistakes, and respond with support.
Create a supportive culture
Start at the foundation and ensure your organizational structure is clear. Clear roles and responsibilities reduce confusion and conflict, which elevates stress levels.
Team-building activities and opportunities for social contact help create collaboration, a sense of community, and shared responsibility. This reduces team member friction. It also increases trust and confidence in colleagues during difficult times.
Nurture a positive work environment by including collaboration or team-building skills as performance metrics. This will help motivate team members to strengthen these skills, which, in turn, helps to create an environment of trust and mutual respect.
Skill gaps or performance challenges can be major sources of stress for team members. Provide support with training and development, access to resources, coaching, and mentoring to improve skills which help to increase self-confidence. This also creates a growth mindset, which increases team members’ adaptability and resilience skills.
Stress management programs
Provide self-care and/or stress management options, such as work-from-home, one-day excused absences, and increased break times. Ensure your organization offers resources to team members who may be struggling with stress. This can include access to mental health services or other support programs.
Regularly ask for feedback in order to review your performance metrics, structures, and targets to ensure they are not stress triggers. Forty-three percent of respondents in the workplace health survey reported that their company “never” or “rarely” had realistic workload expectations.
Include intangible rewards
The lack of recognition is a stressor for team members. Rewards are tangible (financial) and intangible (non-financial), and we must not fall into the trap of assuming only financial rewards are required for employee satisfaction. Financial rewards are not enough to motivate high performance. Your reward systems must include intangible rewards like praise, recognition, and awards.
A stress-resistant team is a more productive team with better decision-making skills, better resilience, and better skills in knowledge sharing and problem solving. Such a team can increase innovation and creativity for your organization.