Obsessed with stress? Your catch 22

Where are you on the scale?

If you didn’t know already, stress is a big deal; we’re obsessed. Finally, after years of stifling our emotions we can share how we feel, and yet, many of us still don’t.

Welcome to the wellbeing revolution (that hasn’t quite finished revolving).

Results of a nationwide workplace survey show that two-thirds of British employees are ‘unlikely’ or ‘very unlikely’ to reveal they are experiencing workplace stress. Why is this?

One of the main contributing factors is poor working relationships. Professor Sir Cary Cooper president of the CIPD and advocate of workplace wellbeing wholeheartedly believes our line managers are “absolutely fundamental to our wellbeing” and yet managers don’t know how to put this into action, and employees are afraid to speak up. It’s a catch 22.

Instead of doing something about it, we freeze, we push it to one side (that deadline is looming and heaven forbid we take a breather or tell our boss we’re struggling). And so it goes on…that is until it snowballs into a mental health condition. Statistics from the Healthy and Safety Executive show that across 2017/18 each person affected by stress, depression or anxiety took on average 25.8 days off from work. That is staggering.

As Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying,

“The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

So, let’s do things differently…

Recognising typical signs of stress

  • Change in normal behaviour (irritability/withdrawn/unpredictability)
  • Change in appearance
  • Sudden lack of concentration and commitment (lateness)
  • Absenteeism

Typical triggers

  • Poor working relationships with managers/teams
  • Combative or confrontational communication styles
  • Poor communication and information sharing
  • Not dealing with complaints/disputes at an early stage

If so many of the triggers are to do with relationships then it stands to reason that the manager’s role is fundamental to reducing these triggers but they too often get stressed. So what are the simple steps that any manager can take?

Positive management behaviours

  1. Listening objectively to both sides of conflict
  2. Supporting and investigating complaints objectively
  3. Nipping conflict in the bud
  4. Following up on actions
  5. Having a positive approach
  6. Taking a deep breath and staying calm when under pressure
  7. Keeping employees issues private and confidential
  8. Admitting own mistakes when wrong
  9. Treats all employees equally
  10. Being the role model for positive working relationships with their peers and team

If you fancy a video to help you ponder how you can do more as a manager to empathise look no further than here

And if you are on Netflix there is a special Brene Brown movie for one day only on 19th April so pop that in your diary!

We’ve used this expression before, but we’ll use it again. ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. We spend a lot of our time at work, so it makes sense to work on our relationships. It has a huge impact on our job satisfaction, learning, using our skills, staff turnover, morale, taking time off and even our quality of life. It’s a lot to take in I know, but you can start off small. The next time you see your employee or colleague having a tough time, ask if they’re okay.

And so it begins, your own wellbeing revolution.