Workplace stress is a top reason high performers opt to leave a job. Stress is our body’s natural response to changes and demands, and stress management is a critical part of a strong team. As a business leader, a strong team is your biggest asset. There are two kinds of stress: positive stress and negative stress. Positive stress is related to things that are demanding, but exciting—while negative stress causes anxiety and feels unpleasant. Here are 5 ways to help your team manage inevitable workplace stress:
1. Notice, Identify, and Acknowledge Stressors
Encourage your team to recognize the signs of negative stress—stress that steals energy and brings on anxiety, fear, and decreased performance. Making a list is a great way to identify your team’s biggest stressors. Often what stresses one person out will energize another, so swapping tasks and projects can be a great way to find balance. Try to make sure that no one person is continually overwhelmed and drained by a list that only encompasses things that bring them negative stress.
2. Ask for Help
High performers often find it very difficult to ask for help because they see this as a sign that they’re not strong enough or capable enough to handle everything on their plate. A successful person knows when to ask for help. Remind your employees that there is no shame in asking for help and they will breathe a sigh of relief! Encourage your team to be strong enough and wise enough to know when to escalate a problem.
3. Promote a Sense of Humor
If you take yourself too seriously you’re not going to have anyone stick around for the long haul. A sense of humor is a vital part of lasting relationships and stress management. If laughter isn’t a regular part of your workday, you’re missing out—and so is your team. In fact, a study done by Mayo Clinic has shown that laughter has immediate physical benefits that include reducing stress, stimulating vital organs, improving circulation, and releasing neuropeptides that contribute to a healthier immune system.
4. Schedule Team Building Activities
A strong, well connected team is less stressed. Team building activities promote communication, respect, and they improve morale. Make time to bond—it’s good for business! When your team feels comfortable and confident, it leads to improved working relationships and this helps reduce stress and make people more likely to speak up when they need help.
5. Encourage Time Off
There is no room for martyrs on a successful team. Everyone needs a break and if you’re always busy, there is never a good time to take time off. Taking a break should be seen as a positive thing, not a negative thing. Embracing a culture that promotes and even encourages taking time off is rarer than you’d think. Knowing you have time off and are free to use it helps employees recharge and return to work with renewed enthusiasm and a better ability to manage any kind of stress.
It’s a challenge to keep up with your team. Knowing who’s happy, bored, frustrated, and even angry is an ongoing battle that you’re never going to win if you have more than a handful of employees. You’re only as good as the people you hire, and retaining talented employees who are energized and well-adjusted is a vital part of your company’s continued success.