7 Simple Strategies to Combat Work Related Stress

September 30, 2014 by  

Even those who have discovered and secured their dream job are not immune to work-related stress from time to time. It is simply a fact of life that not everything goes as planned!
There are ways, however, in which one can minimize the impact that daily, or occasional, stress has on their work day and that is what we are going to be looking at here. Management of stress at work is not just critical to your success, but also your health and peace of mind.

Here are some easy to implement strategies that you can start trying today:
1. Make sure you communicate effectively with your colleagues.
If colleagues are triggering your stress, ask yourself, Why? There is a good chance neither of you are employing effective communication skills.
Put yourself in their shoes to better figure out their perspective.
Pay attention to their needs and see if they can be met. If you are able to do that, a source of conflict is removed and the stress linked to it as well.
Better communication and understanding of your colleagues could result in higher productivity. If they feel you understand them, they are more likely to respond positively to your requests.

2. Maintain a positive frame of mind.
A positive attitude, even in the face of the most impossible work-related hurdles, generally seems to ensure a successful outcome.
It can be hard to change negative thoughts and feelings, especially if you hate your job; but are you doing anything to improve the situation?
When you adopt a positive attitude, it will be easier to maintain the drive necessary to overcome problems at work.
It is quite possible that everything at work is not as bad as you think! Concentrate on the things that are going right, be more patient in your dealings with others, and this will reduce your stress and enhance your overall job fulfillment.

3. Ensure that your relationship with your job is healthy.
If you are really dedicated to your job, you may start to lose yourself in it. You may even start to feel as if your job has become your whole life. No wonder you are stressed out! In these circumstances, it is best to take a step back and concentrate on taking care of yourself.
Take frequent breaks and take pleasure in something that is not work-related when you are not working.
void working overtime or taking work home with you. For those working from home, lock your work in your desk drawer, get out of your office and promise yourself that you won’t go back in until the next morning. On the rare occasion that it may cause you less stress if you do not finish a project due to the time line, make an exception and do what is necessary. However, if this seems to be a regular occurrence, you may want to strengthen your time management skills.
Take care of your body by exercising, eating nutritious foods, and getting sufficient sleep. While that sounds simple, sometimes we actually need to make an effort to follow some healthy practices on a regular basis.

4. Accept that everyone is human.
Many of us have a desire for perfection and the uncertainty of whether we can achieve it in this task or the next is an automatic stress inducer! The fact is; everyone makes mistakes, you, your coworkers, and your clients.
Trust that others will complete the job well. You and your team can continue to produce quality work, even with an occasional mistake.
If you remain flexible, you will be less stressed. Mistakes are opportunities to learn!

5.Appreciate other points of view.
When you know where someone is coming from, you will be better able to understand the situation without stress. For example, if you can understand your manager’s expectations, you can take action to meet them, or you can offer your own more realistic expectations.

6. Get organized.
Organization can be a key factor for job stress relief.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     If your workplace is disorganized, it can also cause disorganization in your mind. Your thoughts may become scattered and you will be less likely to think clearly, causing poor judgment, errors and inefficiency.

7. Be accountable.
Assuming responsibility for your actions can be a huge stress reducer.
When you keep yourself accountable, there is no reason for lies, excuses or other stressors.

Learning to effectively reduce stress at work will take a some practice, however the results are well worth the effort. Follow these stress reducing strategies daily and soon you will find less and less situations which cause you stress. Stress is very individual and is different things to different people. Recognizing your triggers can help you to find strategies to reduce them. In the end, the only element we truly have control over is our attitude, makes your positive and you will have less stress in all aspects of your life!

5 Tips for Preventing Unproductive Team Conflict

September 11, 2014 by  

Healthy competition within a team can be a motivating force, however it can also cause conflict that can tear groups apart. Finding just the right balance can move a team from mediocre to sensational. However, the competitive desire to succeed and win can drive some to cheat. We have all experienced having an idea shared casually in the staff lounge, later presented by someone else as theirs.

So how do successful teams spin competition into innovation?
1. Start with the right team:
Building complementary, collaborative teams of individuals is the best way to prevent conflict before it begins. Introduce assessments to develop a team with diversity in both personalities and skills.
2. Celebrate differences:
Diversity can bring strength and innovation to the team. It can actually boost individual confidence and encourage collaboration. When employees recognize and leverage the differences in the group, they will experience less friction in their collaborative efforts. Diverse perspectives create more problem solving opportunities and more unique outcomes. Encourage experienced team members to share their expertise with younger employees and younger employees to teach older generations about social media and new technologies.
3. Share common goals:
A high performance team needs more than just the right chemistry they also require the alignment of common goals. These goals need to be clearly defined to be certain everyone is on the same page. With all eyes on the final goal, team members will be less likely to get caught up in short term disputes.
4. Capitalize on individual strengths:
Effective teams know how to combine individual results into a successful group effort. Maintaining a healthy dose of competition keeps a project from stagnating. Inevitably, somebody will come up with a better idea or get the work done before others. Focus these individual achievements into a strong drive for higher accomplishments for everyone. Team members with the right skills will see how their individual strengths can enhance another team member’s idea….improving the final outcome for everyone.
5. Establish team checkpoints:
Measuring progress along the way provides value to that original goal. This approach helps the team continue to share the same goal but also allows for re-evaluation if necessary. Checkpoints give team members an opportunity to voice their concerns throughout the project. Keep in mind these are team checkpoints, are not individual progress reports. Successful teams appreciate that the desired outcome is dependent upon the collaborative sum total of everyone’s contribution.

Strong teams are composed of a diverse group of individuals with specific roles all working toward the same goals. Along the way they are able to solve problems, resolve conflict and accomplish those goals. They recognize that each member has a valuable purpose to perform and know that they could not accomplish their team project alone. Unlike rival companies, team members can channel competition into mutual gain. Using diversity to drive success takes competition from conflict to innovation.

6 Strategies for Employee Empowerment in Organizations

September 5, 2014 by  

Employee empowerment is a means by which individuals are given the authority to analyze situations autonomously and take proactive decisions. This instills a sense of ownership towards the company in the employees. This attitude of the employees can go a long way in driving the business forward.

Here are six means of empowering employees in a workplace.
1. Provide the right skill set for the job: Employees cannot effectively complete assigned tasks if they do not have the necessary skills. It is vital for an organization to assess the gaps between the current and required skills. Training must be provided to employees to improve and increase their skills. Therefore, if you want an empowered workforce, employees need to be offered appropriate training.
2. Grant sufficient autonomy: The second means for empowerment of employees is to provide them with adequate authority to decide on how to complete their tasks. They need to be given allowed to complete their assignments in any manner they choose; as long as it complies with the parameters and time lines set by the organization.
3. Clearly articulate the scope of individual’s job: It is paramount that employees have a clear idea of how their role fits into the overall scheme of the organization. When this is shared in a meaningful manner, it empowers them with the broader perspective of the organization’s overall mission, vision, goals and strategic plans.
4. Provide adequate information and resources: Employees must have access to all the information they require in order to make informed and appropriate decisions and be able to problem solve issues. Therefore supplying information and allocating the necessary resources empowers the employees to perform their responsibilities to the best of their abilities.
5. Build employee’s confidence: When employees have been given autonomy and offered the opportunity to improve and increase their skills; they will feel valued, supported, and appreciated. When one feels this way it increases their confidence which will in turn increase their performance levels because they now believe they have the ability to achieve success. The various ways to boost employees’ confidence include:
a) Providing growth opportunities to the employees by giving them more challenging tasks. This demonstrates that you value your employees and their personal development.
b) Exhibiting greater trust and support in the employee’s ability to accomplish a work assignment by not micro-managing their tasks.
c) Encouraging cross-learning so that employees benefit from each other’s skills and knowledge. This can also increase productivity if people are absent.
d) Acknowledging and rewarding the employees for their accomplishments.
6. Guide with positive feedback: Providing positive feedback for tasks done well and guiding employees about best practices, gives encouragement to the employees. When employees feel appreciated, performance improves and creativity is enhanced.

Managing a large workforce is a daunting task. However, with empowered employees, it becomes easier as when they feel supported and acknowledged they develop purpose to do well for an organization that has a culture of respect and appreciation for what is accomplished by its membership.