We all bring our personal experiences and attitude at work. Employees and managers find it easier to work with each other if they can take and receive feedback constructively. A lot of times we struggle to manage these relational needs with the needs of power, recognition and appreciation, leaving behind any collaborative efforts to meet the team or organizational goals.
Stress is a natural human emotion that kicks in during a threatening situation. Adrenaline rushes in, the unnecessary physiological systems shut down, and we get to work. In the corporate sphere, when you get stressed about meeting a deadline or confirming a deal, you generally forget your hunger and sleep and become proactive towards the job at hand. But when that very stress becomes crippling, occurring due to the smallest of reasons, that is when things become detrimental. Continued stress is the starting point of mental health conditions like GAD or depression and over time, leads to physical ailments like heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, and so on.
Possible external causes of stress at work
There is a popular saying that people generally do not change their jobs, they change their bosses. If your supervisor continuously breathes down your neck, micromanages you at every instant, flips out on you at the slightest of deviations or merely holds a grudge against you, all of these can make your job really stressful.
Frequent lay-offs, unreasonable transfers, or mistreatment of employees raise doubts regarding job security. This directly stresses you out regarding losing your job and having to start over.
Appreciation at work is a human need. You will need incentives, autonomy, and promotion to feel that you are doing a good job. However, if the management is autocratic, merely concerned about getting the job done and not caring about employees, the unfulfillment of your appreciation needs will lead you to stress.
Office politics and favouritism are common aspects of any job. Without the slightest regard of your potential, the company may promote your peer owing to discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, community, and so on. This, again, happens without any fault of yours and hence, is an external cause of your stress.
Potential internal causes of work stress
Monotony leads to boredom and boredom leads to restlessness. The very fact that you will have to do that same dead-end job may make you lose your sense of purpose and throw you into disarray. Switching the job can become stressful here as you might be sacred of unemployment.
Difficult jobs come with their own taxing demands. And that is when family time can start to suffer. Humans stay emotionally well when their social life flourishes and any imbalance in that can result in burnouts and stress.
The social aspect works in the job as well. Everyone needs to connect and interact with their colleagues to have an amicable work life. However, a judgemental attitude or social anxiety or lack of interpersonal skills can lead to isolation, resulting in loneliness and excess stress.
An unhealthy relationship at home with any member or some personal crisis can also lead to work stress. Regular conflicts with family members can lead to a loss of focus in your job and can make you counterproductive.
This factor will have a direct impact on your overall ambitions, the capability to work with your colleagues, being self-driven, or setting work boundaries. Naturally, your achievements at work will suffer and you can soon become stressed.
It is common to expect an untimely raise or an exciting opportunity. But when that gets broken, it may lead to disappointment. Unrealistic expectations arise from the lack of capacity to accept reality and they do cause stress among many.
How can therapy help?
This will help you maintain your work-life balance by learning to say no and controlling your ambitions. You will naturally become more assertive, confident, and productive at work.
Learn what makes you averse to talking with new people and slowly uprooting them from your system. Then, gradually deal with your anxieties with the therapist and become better at conversations, enhance presentation skills and work on interpersonal abilities.
And many people face lay-offs. Know your alternatives, search the market and trust your skills. Avoid feelings of low self-worth and financial distress by dealing with your insecure emotions with your therapist.
By gradually learning better ways to deal with conflict, you can tackle the struggles of both your work and home. You can avert personal life spill over into your work and have better relationships with your colleagues.
Reconnect with yourself and find out other sources of bringing satisfaction. Invest in self-care if your job is monotonous and search for new challenges in the organisation.
Pinpoint the exact causes of conflict and find out what all you can do to deal with your tough boss. Learn to take a stance and hold your ground.
Discomforting Work Environment
Not all workplaces provide an environment congenial for performance. Politics, Disrespectful treatment, Harassment and Lack of appreciation and empowerment can adversely affect our motivation and performance. A happy and cooperative work atmosphere is conducive to growth and enhances job satisfaction. Retaining positivity in a non-supportive environment and improving quality of professional relationships can do wonders!
The diary of an employee with a tough boss read “Some people are like clouds, when they disappear it’s a brighter day”! There can be nothing more disappointing in a workplace than a discouraging and intimidating boss who can’t trust. Objectively understanding the triggers, communicating effectively and reasoning logically are some of the ways to handle a challenging boss. .
Collaboration And Teamwork
97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. Steven Anderson put’s it succinctly “Alone we are smart, together we are brilliant “. A collaborative and motivated team leads to increased productivity, efficient problem solving and successful execution.
Balancing Work and Personal Life
This is a problem that takes a toll on us emotionally. We miss being around our loved ones. Even when we are with them, we are not in a mood to give our hundred percent after a hectic day at work. At heart, we want to give our best, but are unable to do it. We find ourselves experiencing stress and emotional outbursts that affects our productivity at work too. Managing our feelings, frustration can help us reduce stress and maintain healthy work-life-balance.
Everyone wants a ‘pat on the back’ to make them feel good. Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued. The consequence of recognition is increased job satisfaction, productivity and ultimately increased value for one’s organization.
Lack Of Job Satisfaction
Spending Saturday and Sunday dreading Monday mornings? Cut the morning blues of having to go to work! Aristotle says “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work”. We all want good rewards, interesting and challenging work, strong professional relationships but we may not always have it all. When contentment becomes a way of life, we find silver lining everywhere!
Despite high potential for social interaction, many of us feel disconnected at our workplaces. Amongst tight deadlines, client calls, team meetings, we sit down with a cup of coffee, nodding to familiar faces and yet we feel lost, unable to share our hearts with anyone. By changing our perspective and letting ourselves be a part of the workplace, we can break this deadlock. Finding like-minded people, valuing and deepening our interactions with our colleagues can break the ice and make us feel connected again. It can also help someone else feeling the same break their own barriers.
Appraisal and Promotion
Promotion and appraisals gives us a sense of accomplishment and acknowledgment for the hard work we have put in. We feel bad and lose motivation when our colleagues get promoted ahead of us or when we don’t get what we feel we deserve. There could also be times when we unknowingly refrain ourselves from improving our skills or seeing a positive side of the situation. All these things can raise our stress levels. Finding a stress buster and learning how to manage these negative feelings can help us in constantly growing and improving in our careers.
Are you being treated differently at work? We often come across situations where we feel that our boss, colleagues are unfair to us and biased towards others. We feel that we are being discriminated because of who we are and what we stand for such as gender, age, caste, political, religious beliefs or activities etc. While this may or may not be true in all situations, it does impact us a lot emotionally. We feel low, cheated and give up easily. It may also crush our self-esteem and make us doubt our capability. In times such as these, it may not be possible to change the way others feel about us but we can definitely change the way feel about our own selves. We must believe that we are unique and different and if we believe in our own unique potential, others will sooner or later believe in it too.
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Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
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