Workplace Stress: The Contagion of Stress

In the 1980's, Lloyd Blankfein's boss at Goldman Sachs, said in Business Insider:

"First, it's good to solicit your people's opinions before you give them yours. And second, your people will be very influenced by how you carry yourself under stress."

It's a new millennium and this advice is still as good as gold - as precious as platinum. It is up to management to set the tone at work, as I stated in this Globe and Mail article. However, it is in a company's best interest to provide all employees with stress techniques.

The virus of stress can easily be transmitted from one person to the next, wreaking havoc in the work environment, often leaving people scratching their heads, wondering why their place of work is one that is rife with petty squabbles, back-stabbing, low productivity, lack of creativity and high levels of absenteeism and presenteeism.

A good example of this is when you take your break with the Chronic Complainers, or with the Chronic Gossipers. Without awareness (part of your stress immunization package), your buoyant mood rapidly deflates. Soon, you are mucking about, vociferously complaining and gossiping with the rest of them. When it's time to go back to your desk, you may find that you're irritated, disgruntled. Even angry. If you're serving customers, you may inadvertently infect them.

Many people are so stressed that they are not aware of the shift in mood and how this can affect those around them. Remember that a lot of communication takes place without a word having been uttered. Clues are taken, inappropriate words spoken. Watch for a future post about how constant complaining is both a sign and symptom of stress.

All this erodes what could potentially be a great place to work - a culture that is supportive, engaging, productive and yes, even fun!

You can augment or detract from the work community; generally, you are hired for the skill set you bring to the organization. When you are also equipped with stress techniques you increase your value - productivity, problem-solving, decision-making, time management, creativity, plus your health is better, which equals savings in short and long-term disability claims.

Stress. It's in you to change - or not. Both decisions have consequences - far reaching ones that not only affect you personally, but also professionally. When you transform your stress, feeling better equates to doing better.


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