Wellbeing, Stress and Engagement

I just got done slogging through an abstract on stress research that originated in Psychological Science that led me down a bone-jarring rutted path to even more studies and white papers.  Conclusion: academic abstracts stress me out! Why do I keep doing this to myself?

Academia aside, when the same topic is also explored by…
1. The “For Dummies” organization;
2. A proliferation of grant-funded research teams; and even
3. The Mayo Clinic staff
…there must be something to it. A brief section on stress is part of the Supercharger series of engagement and values-based leadership workshops. Values and personal purpose are powerful antidotes for the destructive effects of stress, and stress is an ideal universal door-opener. It establishes personal relevance for a curriculum that could be very scary foreign territory for some.

It has been repeatedly validated that well-being is enhanced by being connected to your own as well as your employer’s values and purpose. Those same connections are key ingredients of high engagement. Stress, engagement and values-based leadership make perfect sense together.

Stress is silently and subtly at work whether or not we care to admit it or are even aware of it. Stress robs precious time from our quality years and diminishes overall satisfaction with our lives. If you are more aware and have prepared yourself by understanding the origins of your stressors you can set your sights on a happier, healthier, more productive, and longer life.

Leaders, it makes good business sense to arm employees against stress: the social and business cost of stress is staggering. It negatively impacts productivity and sucks money away from the bottom line. And the social impacts of stress are even more staggering.

In the work environment, stress is often triggered by conflict. There are two broad categories of workplace conflict and therefore stressors, and I don’t recall ever having a workshop participant admit they are not impacted by these:
• Relationship: clashes due to behavioral, values-based differences; and
• Task-based conflicts including lack of clarity, dueling priorities, process differences (my-way-is-better). The leading cause of task-based stress: work overload.

Things and people can both drive us nutty. So it serves us well to take a look at conflict and stress a little more closely. What are the origins and impacts of my conflict and stress generally? What are my stressors? Analysis allows us to proactively identify and minimize the opportunity for conflict, therefore minimize stress.

Better lives, better results…win-win and then some. And you thought Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts sketches on Saturday Night Live were comedy?


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