Managing emotions and stress

According to Melanie Bickbord of the Canadian Mental Health Association, “workplace stress has been shown to have a detrimental effect on the health and well­being of employees, as well as a negative impact on workplace productivity and profits.” Huge events, like pandemics for example, cause entire teams to experience levels of stress they never imagined. 

With internal and external support, your team can grow and thrive through adversity by addressing challenges that affect the beating heart of the organization – the people and the relationships between them. 

The hard truth is that everyone will experience hardship – whether that’s work or home-related. Hardship, or stress, is inevitable. It’s not a matter of avoiding stress all together, but rather dealing with the stressors as they arise, and building resilience (the capacity to rebound).

That’s the question isn’t it – how can we deal with stressors as they arise? Let’s use a metaphor to help us gain a new way of thinking about stress and your capacity to rebound or resilience.

Stress can be thought of as a ship traveling across the open ocean.

A ship at sea

The ship is made-up-of the main deck, the masts and sails, and the captain and crew on board. Each of these pieces is vital for the ship to succeed in its voyage.

o1-The captain embodies your attitude

The captain is relied on for leadership – they must make the important decisions to keep the crew and the ship safe. Think of the captain as your attitude or the sum total of your internal sentences about stress. When you encounter hardship or a stressful circumstances, it’s important that you make the decision to be calm and take useful action.

02-The crew represents your external support network

The crew is relied on to carry out all the duties that keep the ship navigating properly and in the right direction. Even during times of hardship, we encounter three times positive events than negative. That’s right. Three times more! It’s important to have trusted individuals who can help you see the positive.

03-The ship is your body so exercise and eat right

And the ship itself is relied on to hold the crew and withstand whatever challenges come from nature. Outside stressors like winter weather conditions, or severe wind and water conditions naturally take a toll on the ship and crew. Here’s where we start talking about some simple strategies to support resilience.

During times of hardship, pay attention to what you eat and ensure you set aside time to exercise. Exercise might simply mean putting on some tunes in a private space and dancing or moving to the songs you love.

Final thoughts

The resilience of the ship is dependent on the quality of the ship engineering, as well as the know-how of the captain and crew.  Weather conditions are unpredictable, so it takes a skilled crew and a sturdy ship to make a successful voyage.

Think of these unforeseeable weather conditions as our own unforeseeable personal stressors. When something happens in our lives that brings on stress, it takes a skilled person with a sturdy set of attitudes and strategies to weather the storm. 

Many teams right now are experiencing stress at levels they have never experienced before. 

Is your team prepared to weather the storm? Could your team use some personal tips and strategies to help them stay centered and focused? Is your team’s effectiveness being impacted by COVID 19? We can help. 

Possible Course to Help Your Team

Managing Stress, Anger, and Frustration

Myers-Briggs Step 2 Coaching

Harness the Power of Conflict with Thomas-Kilmann

Contact us to learn more.

A question to consider

Life contains many issues that have a moral dimension that may or may not be connected to law. 

The word moral is dangerous when left undefined. It is ambiguous given that the moral content of an issue is always discerned through a specific lens or measured with a specific meter.  There are different moral standards that we could use to answer the question posed by the article’s title. We’ll  keep things simple by leveraging  the principle of “do no harm to others” to uncover the moral dimension of prejudice.

The question could be framed as, “Does prejudice lead to physical or emotional harm?”  Perhaps a better question might be, “Would a rational, prudent, impartial person acknowledge that prejudice violates contemporary ideals, norms, or values of respect for persons?” 

I think it’s good to acknowledge that the question won’t capture all of the nuances of a particular situation. It does, however, provide good guidance.

Prejudice could also be considered an ambiguous word. Let’s define it as a condition that affects our behavior toward other people. It can be discerned in us when all of the following symptoms are present:

  1. Prejudging a person or group using hand-me-down stories;
  2. Holding derogatory beliefs;
  3. Hostility and fear are the dominant feelings associated with a person or group;
  4. Inclination to hinder, hurt, or support others in doing the same.

Would someone manifesting the above symptoms violate contemporary ideas, norms, or values of respect for persons? 

Let me morph an old proverb as an answer: The proof of the pudding can be found on the receiving. You will need to understand the lived experiences of those you hold prejudices against or at minimum listen to their voices.

What makes you frustrated? Wish you could address it?

There are four ways we express ourselves:

  1. Passive (people can read my mind)
  2. Aggressive (the superior being)
  3. Passive-aggressive (the stamp collector)
  4. Assertive (rights & responsibilities)

The manifesto says:

Every Human Being has the right to be treated with respect and express opinions or feelings, so the question becomes…

How can I express what I need to express, without offending?

How can I translate what I want to say into what I can safely say?

It’s not only possible to address frustrating situations – it’s encouraged.

From *quick draw responses* to *holding that difficult conversation with someone*, we have communication strategies for you, based on credible research.

Contact us if your team could use more

Open and Honest Communication

Connection is the key to setting boundaries

Speaking your Truth to Power
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I believe everyone can agree that, generally, if a person crosses someone’s boundary, it would be great if the offended person spoke up. It would be great if everyone abstained from coping with any life issue using passive or passive-aggressive behavior.

Yet, we do need to acknowledge the difficulty of calling someone out where a power imbalance exist. Dealing with power is more art than science. It can be quite challenging to speak truth where candor is not valued in organizational relationships.

If you asked an HR professional for their honest opinion, they would probably say that many of the issues they deal with could have been avoided if the parties involved had simply had a conversation about the issue first.

Easier said than done many would say. No.

It does take courage and skill to speak your truth to power. However the key is connecting the issue to values.

We often try to change others or set boundaries based on our values (what’s important to me). Yet, we need to acknowledge that people don’t willingly change unless something they value is at stake.

If by offending someone I put something of value to me at risk, I will be more willing to change to protect what’s valuable to me. Everyone, no matter how altruistic, is motivated at some level by self-interest or the desire to survive.

It can be challenging to view the issue from another person’s perspective. If you draw a blank when you wonder “what value is at risk for them,” it probably means you don’t know them.

Here are four tips for developing the skill of speaking your truth to power:

  • Remind yourself that your goal is to “build a deeper connection with the other person”;
  • Be in tune with the value(s) of the other person in the specific context and frame the issue from their perspective (what they value);
  • Start the conversation by focusing on the value at risk and avoid beginning with your interpretation;
  • Be open to changing your perception (interpretation), by inviting them to communicate their perspective.

Assertiveness takes practice. It is a firm pathway for speaking truth to power.

Contact us at 1.866.377.0165 to book a mini-course on “Speaking Truth to Power” or to gain access to a 15 minute video that you can use to lead a team discussion.

You can also request a quote: USA or Canada.