There’s not a job in the world that doesn’t come without its fair share of workplace stress. But like any time in which we face adversity in life, it’s the way we respond to workplace stress that counts.
Indeed, how we respond can have much bigger and more far-reaching consequences than the stressor itself. You don’t want to make a permanent decision based on temporary feelings of stress.
Therefore, becoming more emotionally intelligent in the way we handle workplace stress is a skill worth learning and constantly refining to make sure we are the best employee, manager, or employer we can be.
So how exactly do emotionally intelligent people deal with stress at work? Read on to find out how.
Identify your triggers
One of the biggest factors when it comes to dealing with workplace stress is working to identify common triggers that might make you feel stressed at work.
Once you know things that are the cause of your workplace stress, it puts you in a much better position to be able to tackle the problem in an emotionally intelligent and proactive way.
For example, you may deal with a colleague who you manage and who also has an important role within the business. However, their style of working just doesn’t work well within the rest of the team and, as a result, it becomes a regular source of workplace stress for you.
Whereas the other members of the team are methodical in their approach to working to deadlines, this particular colleague has a “headphones in, world out” kind of approach and their communication skills are poor.
Neither you, nor the rest of the team ever knows what stage in the project they are at and their lack of communication makes you uneasy and worried that the project won’t be completed on time.
Working with other people can be tricky – and stressful! But an emotionally intelligent way to deal with this situation would be to figure out what you can do to address the problem empathetically moving forward.
For example, you could decide to have an honest, friendly conversation with this person where you explain that, although their quality of work is great, that more communication is needed to ensure the team knows exactly what stage of their task they are on at all time in order to plan ahead.
You could also consider introducing a task-management system like Monday.com or Trello, into the equation, to help this person and the rest of the team keep track of their work and to ensure the individual doesn’t feel “singled out”.
Create positive, preventative solutions
Once you’ve worked to identify some of your triggers, then you can create preventative solutions to stop your workplace stress from escalating.
This can be as simple as taking a five-minute break when you’re stressed to breathe and re-evaluate the situation. You rarely make your best decisions when you are stressed, and emotionally intelligent people know this.
Though every job has a degree of pressure, there’s a fine line between healthy pressure that makes you productive and too much workplace stress – the kind where you can’t think straight, and it clouds your judgement.
When this happens, take it upon yourself to intervene. Take five minutes away from the office to sit down, make a cup of tea or even complete some breathing exercises to calm down.
Only you know yourself best and what will work for you, but exercises like this can-do wonders for your mental wellbeing and allow you to come back to work in a better frame of mind.
Once you become more in-tune with what makes you stressed, you’ll recognise the signs and be able to deal with them in a preventative, proactive way before they escalate.
Have a strong support system in place
One of the best ways to deal with workplace stress is by having a strong support system in place. Remember that behind every great leader is an iron-clad support system who help and advise them when times get tough.
Everyone gets stressed and you must remember that showing it is not a sign that you can’t do your job properly. As long as you’re not lashing out, being aggressive or acting unprofessionally, there is no reason to go to great lengths to hide the fact that you’re stressed at work.
We are only human and showing vulnerability, in the right setting, is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it makes you appear more personable and relatable to others.
In every job and workplace, you should have people that you can trust to confide in or seek advice on matters that are causing you stress.
Sometimes you need someone who is not directly involved in the situation to be able to look at it objectively and give you honest, impartial advice.
A problem shared is a problem halved – and this will ultimately allow you to consider the situation from a different perspective and come up with a better solution.
Emotionally intelligent people understand that they can’t do it all themselves – and that seeking support from others is an invaluable way to deal with challenging situations and workplace stress.
By following the advice in this blog post, you’ll be well on the way to redefining how you handle workplace stress.
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