In our work with teambuilding and especially working with the behavioural issues in a team, we are often confronted with the stress issue.
“I was under immense stress!” and sadly this becomes a very convenient excuse for inappropriate behaviour.
It is a huge subject, but my beginners’ guide to stress follows three very simple understandings;
1. Stress is not good for you; you don’t want it, you don’t need it.
2. Stress is created by yourself
3. Stress is a killer.
Ok now I have your attention, let’s look at how stress arises and how to not catch this terrible disease.
Phase 1: I have an unsolved problem, I have something to do, and I can’t get it done, so I start to carry it forward till tomorrow. This is the start and usually results in the first symptoms being comments like “I’m too busy”, “I have a lot on my plate”, and you will find staff working late and tending to rush.
This is a critical stage and management needs to intervene and provide staff with the support to get things done, time management, closer support, redefine procedures and processes and training all help the staff member get back into control.
Beyond Teambuilding pride ourselves in creating events, activities and challenges that push any team past mediocrity, allowing them to express themselves in a way that unleashes a team synergy that is often lying dormant. Our teambuilding is done in two definitive ways; formal and informal. Both have merit and are used to create the specific objectives of your particular team’s needs.
Phase 2: The getting out of control phase where things are backing up, and the staff member starts to feel they are alone with no support. You will notice the blaming approach and acts of denial such as “no one understands around here” and worst of all you will start to see behaviour that’s not typical of that person, such as anger, short temper and aggressiveness.
This is the time for one-on-one counselling, relooking at the job description, ensuring there is clarity in the job functionality and helping the staff member better plan their day and their tasks. It is important to ensure the staff member does not feel “incompetent” as this will fuel their denial and need to blame others.
Phase 3: This phase is the last straw and often results in either highly emotional outbursts or acts of total strangeness to the opposite where the staff member literally hides from the world around them. This is a phase where only a professional can help, and the staff member can be a danger to themselves and others around them. It’s time to cut the umbilical cord and say goodbye and let them find a more simple job. Keeping the pressure on someone at this stage can result in non- reversible hurt and even death.
Management can create stress…but what for? My suggestion to all managers is to avoid it at all costs and try to keep everyone within phase 1 where it’s challenging but not beyond them.