Let’s talk about the practical ways that you can make your workplace a little more enjoyable and a little less of a Stephen King movie. If you’re no stranger to the internet, you’re sure to have noticed that words like wellness, mental health and mindfulness are among the trendiest right now. And to be frank, it’s about time.
In a day and age when we’re inundated with information overload, the pressure to ‘stay connected’ makes it even harder to relax and unwind. Not to mention you have endless meetings (and emails), co-worker conflict, and a million items on your to-do list. No wonder 47% of all Canadians agree that their workplace is the most stressful part of their day. (Ipsos Reid, 2013).
The good news
Management does not have to take a toll on your mental health. You’ve got many other things in life to worry about and managing your team should not raise your stress level. That’s why we say when it comes to management – don’t make it up! Management shouldn’t be a daily guessing game. There is a disciplined structure and a clear roadmap to make that journey easy for any new leader-manager, or for those that just want to get better at it.
Here are a few, quick and easy practices you can implement today to start lowering your stress level at work and positively transform your workplace culture day in and day out.
Know your role
Have you ever asked your team for a report and you are met with either a puzzled stare, or the team just awkwardly pointing at one another? That’s because they had no idea who was accountable for what. Nobody likes to be accused of not knowing their responsibilities and what they were hired to do. To avoid the blame game, grab a pen and paper and see if you and each team member can answer these questions:
- What specific targets do you need to achieve to be successful in your role?
- What actions are you putting into place to meet those targets?
- How do you measure whether you’re on track to achieving that success?
Their answers might be somewhat of a shocker! The reason some of them are running around like chicken with their heads cut off is because they aren’t clear on their roles. Having a transparent plan for you and your team will help calm everyone’s nerves and get them some better sleep at night.
Prepare your priorities
Our second step in lowering our blood pressure at work is to stop multi-tasking. At the beginning of each week, prioritize your to-do list by thinking about the 5 tasksyou need to get done that will drive you closer towards achieving your goals for that year. Take one item at a time and focus on getting that task done efficiently and effectively.
When you identify your priorities before the beginning of each week, you will feel mentally prepared for what’s to come. You get ready for any frustrating or unwanted tasks that you may be fearful or anxious about completing. Have your team prepare their Top 5 lists each week and go over each list together so you know you’re all on track.
Communicate with style
The behaviour you exhibit when going in for an interview is not (and should not!) be the same behaviour you use when putting out fires with your team. Management is a conversation. And there are more effective styles to use to get your message across and get the result you need – depending on the situation that you’re in.
Got a team member who fails to meet targets? Take the relationship off the table, and focus on giving direct communication on how to get the job done. How about a problem that needs to be solved? Ask every team member to come prepared with their best solutions and be firm with the decision you make.
When you begin to understand that communicating effectively depends on flexing your behaviour, your anxiety about getting what you need from other people quickly decreases.
A system to make it easy
Managing your work and your team should not take a toll on your mental health. Download your meditation app, do some yoga in your office and practice your breathing.
As a millennial who’s constantly glued to technology, I can’t even begin to stress how important it is to have a system in place that can bring some clarity and structure to how you run your team and your business. A good management system will help you clarify roles, prioritize your to-do list and get you comfortable with those uncomfortable conversations. Your mental health (and your team) will thank you!