What do you do when you’ve had enough, and you just can’t look at one more project or help one more person solve an angry dispute at work? Here’s 4 tips to coping with stress and frustrations in the workplace.
Some of us go outside to puff on a cigarette (you betcha there are lots of people still smoking). Maybe you call a friend and vent to them about the difficult folks you work with. Another coping mechanism can be found in comping down a chocolate bar or some other sugar-laden candy. And of course, there is beer or wine or vodka or scotch.
If you can’t talk about your frustrations maybe you stuff your emotions and just keep going, no matter how rotten you feel.
You know, the mantra that goes on and on in your head, “Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.” In the end, you then end up taking your annoyance home. That’s when you get extra pissy with your partner or feel the need to blame the kids for being too loud, too flippant, to disrespectful.
Look, not all stress is bad. Good stress can make you excel, pumping you with extra adrenaline before the speech or before the race.
However, stress that has no end in sight, stress that keeps the anger burning, stress that makes you feel worthless, stress that gives you brain fog, this stress can only lead from bad to worse to some form of disaster.
In an article by Jeffrey Pfeffer in The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2019, he talks about the hidden costs of stressed out workers. One of the most important issues he addresses is the need for greater autonomy for workers.
The world is changing and as individuals develop, there is a yearning, a strong desire to make decisions for oneself. No longer do people want to punch a clock when they walk into work in the morning and punch out when they leave.
As Pfeffer states, “Decades of research show that worker who have more control over their jobs and are subject to less micromanagement, are more motivated and engaged in their work.” And that amazing outdoor apparel company, Patagonia, uses a flat organizational structure to ensure that each manager has too many people to oversee to micromanage them.
They call this “management by absence.”
I suggest that well- being at work comes about when everyone learns the core methods of healthy accountability and understands how they fit into the larger system.
In my book “Don’t Bring It To Work” I underline these key ways to keep stress from ruining your days and work and make sure they do not end up ruing your nights at home:
- Tell the truth without spilling your guts
- Say what you mean and do what you say
- Create healthy boundaries on when to say NO
- Ask for what you need before deciding “they won’t listen to you”
In every off-site I have facilitated around the world, there are certain basic similarities. There is a desire for more trust with colleagues, more authenticity, more creativity, and especially for more autonomy.
Finding new ways to communicate, search for truth, express healthy caring, finding new ways to see each other, hear each other, understand each other – these are what sets us free.
Then the heaviness of stress that leads to anxiety, depression, and physical illness can be alleviated. It’s costing us billions of dollars in absenteeism, lawsuits, ad lower productivity.
The companies that give more room for employee input and offer programs for better communication and conflict resolution will be the ones that lower the stress and have longer term, happier employees.