Stress is a fact of life, for most people. In these uncertain times, stress can invade even the most well-managed of teams. Generally, stress starts with an individual and then spreads like wildfire throughout the team. It’s human nature to be influenced by those around you, and stress is one of those phenomena that can be hard to spot until it’s already affecting team effort and productivity.
Yet, with an understanding of what stress is and how to spot signs of stress, it is possible to manage your team through even the toughest of times. Read on to learn how to identify stress and some ways to manage team stress to come out ahead of the game.
Spotting the Signs of Team Stress
If you’ve worked hard to build a team, then you fully comprehend why it’s critical to spot stress as soon as possible to prevent it’s negative effects. The signs of team stress can take many forms, from tight team deadlines to difficult economic or industry factors. Yet, as a leader, you are tasked with doing something to help your team deal with it in a healthy way.
Here are some general signs of stress in work teams to look out for:
- Lower than normal levels of productivity (sales numbers, achieving team goals, etc.)
- Grumbling or complaining among team members when you are not around.
- Lack of positive attitudes or team spirits from your group.
- Team members missing meetings, days at work, or leaving without being accounted for.
- Higher than normal team member’s not getting along with others or clients.
- Frequent illness or taking sick days more often than usual.
- Poor concentration or failure to creatively solve problems as a team.
If you note any of the above behaviors in your team, it’s time to take action before it damages your team efforts.
Managing Stress in Teams
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to offset the effect of stress on your team members. Here are some suggestions.
- Encourage open communication and collaboration between all team members.
- Hold regular team meetings to talk about and address any stressful factors.
- Assign tasks evenly among team members to reduce overburdening individuals.
- Provide opportunities for team members to take time off for “mental health” days.
- Offer incentives for team members who stick to their deadlines and help others.
- Lead by example by being active and using proactive measures to reduce stress.
Remember, as a leader it’s your job to stop stress it its tracks before it works against your efforts to build a productive team. Taking a few simple steps now and objectively dealing with stress can make a big difference in the way others deal with it too.
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Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net