When it comes to workplace well-being and stress, mindfulness can go beyond the individual level. Research suggests that strengthening clear, vulnerable communication and working from the knowledge that we’re in this together can help transform the way we work.
Dr. Jutta Tobias Mortlock outlines how anticipating stress as a team and responding collectively can transform workplace challenges.
5 Ways to Navigate Workplace Stress as a Team
1) Brainstorm around your challenges
As a leader, share a personal concern about an upcoming challenge and invite team members to reciprocate. Where do concerns overlap and diverge? What do individual team members focus on? How can the team prepare to master the challenge together?
2) Get to know each other’s needs and stress triggers
Strengthen personal connections by helping team members understand each other as human beings and learn how to support one another in times of need. One way to do this is to have team members share “manuals of me,” whereby individuals complete sentences such as “I do my best work when…” or “When I’m stressed, the best way to help me is…”
3) Empower everyone to communicate
Regularly check whether all voices are heard by creating a visual map of who talks to whom during meetings. Does everyone speak and listen in equal proportion? Who dominates the conversation, and who needs encouragement to speak up more regularly? Social contact between team members creates a microculture of collective ownership, so make space for informal chat as well as work talk.
4) Talk more, not less
Resist the impulse to shut down communication and work in isolation during times of stress. Invite people to share more information, especially about what’s unclear, difficult, or contradictory.
5) Appreciate team heroes
Reward individuals who actively help others, whether through public recognition or financial incentives.
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