Workplace stress is the “Not So Silent” killer of an organization. A company’s growth can be easily hampered when just a few people are under even moderate workplace stress. Stress can limit growth and will prevent a firm from ever reaching its full potential.
Workplace stressors are hiding everywhere and are often disguised. They don’t discriminate and can touch everyone in an organization. They manifest themselves in a verity of ways; ineffective meetings, missed deadlines, poorly executed projects, lost opportunities and lack of teamwork to name just a few. Left unresolved they can even adversely affect the physical health and well being of your team.
Where Stress Hides
Workplace stress factors hide in several places on the job! In some cases the job itself is a stress factor. Every job has demands and requires specific skills. Additionally any given job will recognize and reward certain behaviors and personal motivators. In an ever-changing marketplace the skills required of the job yesterday may not be the same today. When the market demands companies become more efficient to remain competitive it’s common to assign more tasks and responsibilities to an existing job. When the job evolves and the person doesn’t you have a recipe for stress. Said another way, “Can they get the work done on time and are the capable of doing the work the job requires TODAY?”
There are several other places that stress hides out. How the staff is recognized and rewarded, or not, for their efforts. Not being involved or empowered in their role causes stress. Organizational change, lack of corporate vision and poor internal communication are stress factors. Without an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork there is a likelihood of work related stress. No real opportunity for advancement and low levels of trust contribute to workplace stress as well. Finally, as a leader, you may be the problem. Are you setting unrealistic expectations? Are you communicating effectively or just making demands? Are you in tune with your team and their current skill sets and future needs? Are you a visionary leader and team coach, or do you administrate and direct?
What Stress Costs
The price tag for work related stress in the U.S. is currently estimate in excess of $300 billion dollars annually. To get an idea of your cost you don’t have to look far; absenteeism, job turnover, increased insurance costs, workers comp claims, lost revenue opportunities, workplace errors and missed deadlines.
As a leader the first and best place to start is by modeling the behavior you seek! It’s often been said the “Fish stinks from the head down”. Your actions (or inaction) set the tone for the entire organization. A few questions to ask yourself:
- Do you listen to your staff?
- Are you empathetic?
- Do you hold yourself and others accountable to realistic expectations?
- Do you cultivate a positive work environment?
The next step in lowering workplace stress is to identify what the stress factors in your organization are and to what degree. When working with my clients in creating a culture of growth I typically start with TTI’s Stress Quotient Assessment. This powerful assessment tool provides insight into seven very specific areas of workplace stress. The end result is a clear picture of where the stress is coming from and its severity by individual and as a group. The information in these reports creates a road map for reducing stress levels across the entire organization and reaching superior performance.
Want to take control of the situation? Contact me via email with “Under Pressure” in the subject line for a free consultation.