Work is an important activity in everyone’s lives; from paying the rent or mortgage, to self-esteem and providing a sense of purpose in life, creating the right work environment is key.
But, harmony is not always in balance within a team, or between one person and another. As much as we may attempt to separate work and home life, there are times when one encroaches on the other.
The occasional blip in the scale of things is something we are all mindful of, knowing that the situation will be rectified but not all imbalances in harmony are short term or instantly solvable. And when this is the case, knowing how to handle suffering from stress or depression in the workplace becomes a priority.
Prevention is better than cure
As the old saying goes, attempting to create an environment that is harmonious, balanced with just the right amount of stress – yes, you read that correctly! Not all stress is bad, don’t forget – is key to maintaining a productive, yet healthy workplace.
Starting as you mean to go on is essential, so what kind of atmosphere are you looking to create and how do you go about doing this?
In any walk of life, motivation is key in what we do, why we do it and how we do it. In some cases, we will do it for personal gain and this into necessarily a bad thing – unless it is at the expense of all others, as well as our principles.
Good motivation is understanding how what drives us to reach ambitions and goals is good in the sense that there is still an ethical and moral practice to our lives.
But, there are time when this good motivation is dented or knocked off track. And part of it is understanding and almost expecting this to happen. Identifying what these factors are, and possible solutions, is key to getting the balance back.
Someone making their sales target ‘at all costs’ is a negative motivating factor. Team wide, you may need to think about the how and why of why this person become this way – was the bar set too high? Was the real purpose lost?
Regularly evaluating and reviewing the situation is one way of ensuring that good motivation is maintained. Ensuring that people understand the positive need for such a drive but, communication can sometimes be blocked.
The biggest factor is knocking a team or work colleague off balance in terms of stress and negativity is a communication blockage. Sometimes real and tangible, and sometimes supposed or imagined, when someone feels that they have lost the ability to communicate effectively with a person, team, management and so on, the scales are dangerously tipping.
Communication is not just about ‘speaking’ whether by voice or email etc. but about listening. Invariably, ask an unhappy colleague what the issues are and, at some point, the ‘not feeling listened to’ will crop up in the list.
Being listened to, is to be acknowledged. To be acknowledged is to be heard and sometimes, when we have complaints or negative feedback to give, when we feel the other side are not acknowledging or listening to grievance or suggestions, the channel of communication is lost.
Getting it back, you may think, is easy and simple to do. But it relies on people being mindful.
This is a characteristic that some people have in abundance; fortunately, it is a skill that can be gained and taught. Being mindful is about being aware of how we interact with others.
Not every interaction we have will be positive. It is a fact of life that people fall out; work colleagues will argue, as well as have other destructive relationships or events.
However, we all know of at least one colleague who seems to ‘rub people up the wrong way’. And this is about a lack of mindfulness; not understanding that even though the words that fall out their mouth may be the truth, the need to be ‘kind’ and aware of the impact of their words is that something that is completely devoid in their mindfulness skillset.
Mindfulness is undoubtedly linked to communication, and the skill of listening and acknowledging. Developing a heightened sense of mindfulness starts with feedback and questioning from a reliable source – a team manager, asking how they thought such-a-such person would feel in the light of such conversations, comments and so on. It is a skill that takes skill to teach – and time.
We all have dysfunctional behaviours that sees is weak in a work and team situation. From lack or mindfulness – intentional or otherwise – to not listening, participating or some other skill that is lacking can lead us on a path of behaviour that disrupts the team. This in itself can be stressful and thus, we need to recognise these patterns of behaviour and alter them, when or if we can.