Acute team stress, because it is short-lived, is easy for individual team members to cope with. However, chronic stress can wreak havoc on a team’s efficiency and productivity. Other ways chronic stress can impact a team’s performance are high levels of anxiety and depression, increased absenteeism, and conflict among team members.
Unless managed effectively, stress can be excessively counter-productive. It can also be extremely destructive to a team’s camarederie. Therefore, team leaders need to be proactive in helping their members manage stress effectively.
Here are a few techniques you could try with your team.
Set Realistic Goals
A significant source of stress often stems from feeling like individual, and team goals aren’t attainable.
Be sure to set S.M.A.R.T. goals with your team. Additionally, incorporate regular evaluations of progress to ensure your team can achieve your goals.
Communicate Expectations Often
Early in the team lifecycle, you should create a communications plan. It should include information on how often the team will assess progress, who will be involved, and what will be discussed or assessed.
These communications will allow you to better understand how to allocate team resources so you could avoid unnecessary stress in any area of responsibility.
Encourage Physical Activity
Physical activity is a very effective stress reliever. It allows your team members to give their minds a break. They will spend time in the gym or in an exercise class not thinking about their project tasks. So, that when they return to their tasks, they are refreshed and ready to renew their focus.
Recognize Accomplishments in Meaningful Ways
Boost your team members’ morale by recognizing and congratulating them on their accomplishments. Take it up a notch by going out for a team lunch or a weekend getaway to celebrate accomplishments and milestones. This way, you’re not only showing them that you appreciate their work. You’re also giving them the chance to unwind and spend time with each other.
Ask for Feedback
A significant source of stress for some team members may be feeling like they are not being heard or understood.
Take the time to ask individual team members for feedback. It’s an excellent opportunity to relieve perceived stressors before they can derail your team’s progress.
Allow Time for Personal Development
Feeling like you will never grow beyond your current job can be a source of stress for some team members. So, you may want to encourage personal development for team members looking for learning and development opportunities.
Incorporating these techniques in your team management strategy could help reduce your team’s chronic stress. Where there is less stress, tension and anxiety, there is more productivity and a happier team dynamic.