A theme has been emerging recently for some of our clients around the challenges of good communication when the pressure is on, and what can happen in the workplace when we get it wrong. So we thought we would share some ideas on this topic today, and in our next blog we will talk about how to recognise when behaviours have gotten out of hand and what you can do about it.
There are myriad reasons why issues might be surfacing now, and if you’re feeling the pressure, we’re not surprised! We’re heading towards the end of a year that has been unprecedented in modern times; there have been emotive elections both here and overseas; change-of-season health issues are rife; and even things like our favourite ways to de-stress such as following sports, are looking vastly different to this time last year. And now, as we head into a festive season that seems to arrive earlier every year – and often brings with it a whirl of social activity and financial pressures – we can expect that ourselves and those around us might be experiencing heightened degrees of stress. And when we’re stressed, it’s likely to affect the way we get through our day and our interactions with others; communication can suffer, we can miss clues that all is not well in the workplace, and we can find ourselves in a cycle of best intentions with less-than-perfect outcomes.
How we talk, how we listen and what we notice are always important, but when the pressure is on, they become even more more-so. Here’s some practical tips to help you in your workplace. They apply to you, your staff, and your own manager – great workplaces take a team effort!
Notice what is going on around you
What are people saying and how are they saying it? How are they reacting to those around them? How are they responding to company directives?
Ask, then listen
Keep communication lines open. Ask people how they are doing, then be intentional about listening to their reply. Could your listening skills be improved? Take this self assessment to find out – How Well Do I Listen?
Be specific with your own communication
Specifically define the problem or name the feeling. It is unlikely that others will know what we are wanting or feeling if we leave them guessing.
Discuss only the issue at hand. Getting off track and bringing up old issues can be confusing and annoying. Don’t say things you don’t mean or threaten actions you won’t carry out.
Silence is helpful when emotions are strong, and we feel stressed or tired. Often during those times, it is easy to say things we do not mean.
Ban blaming. Keep comments descriptive rather than critical, blaming or all-knowing. Avoid criticism and sarcasm.
Act if needed
Sometimes people just need someone to hear them out, and other times you will need to take action. If you are not sure what to do in a situation, take the time to seek the support of a trusted peer or your own manager.
Take care of yourself
Recognise your own limits and stress levels. Be kind to yourself as well as others. Take time out if you can, even if only for a few minutes. Check out our self care suggestions – Using a Few Minutes for Self Care.
GET IN TOUCH
Talk to us about what’s going on in your workplace and how we can support you and your team to recognise, be prepared for, and get through the tougher times. From one-on-one support through to training for managers and teams, EAPworks provides a wide range of support services that can be adapted to meet your needs. Call us on 0800 SELF HELP (0800 735 343) or drop us a line on email@example.com.
Today’s world is changing in ways we couldn’t have foreseen a year ago. In 2019, masks and queues weren’t everyday occurrences and lockdown was a term we hadn’t even heard of. We’re also hearing the term ‘a new normal’ being bandied about a lot, but what is our new normal? The simple answer is no-one knows for sure, so, rather than trying to find certainty in uncertain times, let’s work on ways of becoming comfortable with where we are at.
LIVING WITH UNCERTAINTY
When things change, it’s natural for humans to experience an emotional reaction. Change involves a transition from one state/situation to another; from what we find comfortable and predictable, to the new and unknown. The actual change is an ‘external’ event, but transition is an ‘internal’ adjustment process, and you can help yourself make that adjustment.
It’s likely that COVID-19 and moving in and out of alert levels is here to stay for a while, so think about what you can do to plan, prepare and be ready.
Think of others
Even if we are coping really well, and in some cases even thriving, this is not the reality for everyone. As always, be kind, patient and thoughtful. Our blog, Creating Positive Workplace Relationships, offers some simple ideas that may helpful.
The EAPworks Resource Library is chock full of reading material with ideas and information to support you and your team. You may find The Nature of Change and Personal Reactions and How to Stop Worrying particularly relevant at this time.
GET IN TOUCH
As always, the EAPworks team are just a call away. To discuss how we can support you and your team through these uncertain times, get in touch on 0800 SELF HELP (0800 735 343) or firstname.lastname@example.org.