10 Ways to reduce Stress in your Team!
Too many times, we end up putting a bandaid over the stress, rather than dealing with the cause. And so, the stressful cycle continues, on and on and on and on ...
Band Aids that are frequently used in organisations include:
1. Special Pizza lunches - paid for by the company
2. Friday night drinks
3. 1-day Team Building/Bonding events
4. A once-in-a-blue-moon social evening for staff and their partners
5. Putting a 'Suggestion Box' in the lunch room or at the coffee station (it usually just collects waste paper)
6. Managers telling staff 'my door is always open' - but hey, they're never in their office!
There's nothing inherently 'wrong' with any of these activities or actions - we just need to be aware that, on their own, they are unlikely to resolve a problem or issue permanently.
Obviously, there can be many causes of stress in a team, and therefore the 'treatment' needs to be tailored in each situation. (You wouldn't have your GP prescribed an antibiotic when you break your leg, just because that's what they gave you last time you visited them with a cold and it seemed to help!)
To get you started in your thinking, here are some ideas that will, at the very least, begin to create a more pleasant, harmonious and cooperative work environment ...
1. Have regular morning tea breaks as a team. Spend 20 minutes sharing your successes and brainstorming how to deal with the challenges.
2. Increase the effectiveness of your meetings. Only have them if you absolutely need to, invite only those that need to be there, and keep the agenda short and sharp.
3. Instigate a 'Thought of the Week' board. Rotate responsibility for weekly postings. People can share inspirational quotes, cartoons, a recent positive news story, humourous photos - anything that can lighten the mood and/or get people thinking - and talking!
4. Once a month, have a birthday tea for everyone celebrating their birthday in that month.
5. Have pot luck cultural lunches. Everyone brings a small plate of food to share that is from their country of origin (or that of their ancestors).
6. Set up a 'Who's this?' board - baby photos of team members and people can guess who's who.
7. Set up team agreements around what are the top 5 to 10 behaviours that you want to exhibit in your team that creates the culture and environment you desire.
8. Run a Positivity Raffle - each time someone helps another team member, they receive a raffle ticket. After several weeks (or whatever length of time you choose), draw the winner (and make it a nice prize, like movie tickets, restaurant voucher, etc.). The more helpful someone has been, the more tickets they'll receive and more chance to win.
9. Allow people to book uninterrupted time to work in small offices/meetings rooms. It's amazing how much more productive we can be without distractions and frequent stops-starts in our thought processes.
10. Ensure all team members are trained in the skill of managing conflict and having honest, authentic communication with each other. Empower people to work through their own disagreements so you as the team leader don't keep having to play mediator.
So ... which one of these ideas can you use this week?
Remember ... there's no power in just knowing and thinking about something ... you need to take action!
So get to it!
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