Teams Suffer from Stress Mono
On the stress severity scale, the pandemic meets and exceeds the definition of trauma. It’s been uncontrollable, unpredictable, inescapable, isolating, and unrelenting. This level of threat naturally triggers human survival reactions: flight, fight, freeze, and fold. Left unchecked, these affect work performance. Here’s how they tend to show up:
Four Stress Reactions
Flight: Avoiding danger is the focus of the flight response. Those in flight mode may strongly resist returning to the office. They may be highly productive, just unwilling to leave home.
Fight: The fight approach is assertive. Those in fight mode may take back their pre-pandemic lives. They may feel frustrated with safety measures and cautious peers.
Freeze: A deer in the headlights is the picture of the freeze response. High anxiety leads to difficulty. You may notice a lower ability to focus and execute. Formerly highly productive team members may be surprisingly less effective.
Recognize: All four reactions are entirely normal. People may have a preferred response, or switch based on the circumstances. In addition, individuals will act differently based on their acquired resiliency. For some, the pandemic has been a tsunami of stress. Those with more acquired resiliency experience the trauma, but their symptoms are less severe. The first step is to recognize that stress responses vary, and adapt accordingly.
Moreover, it’s essential to avoid labeling anyone as “stressed.” This will do more harm than good. After quietly observing various individual stress responses, move on to the active resilience technique: relate.
Relate: Active empathy reduces stress and builds connections. There is a tried-and-true method for expressing empathy: Reflective Listening. Happily, this is extremely effective and simple. For this simple technique download the full article: Leading Beyond the Pandemic
Rebuild: Gone are the vital in-person connections that make working together more productive and enjoyable. Unless people are highly skilled at virtual teaming, remote work decreases the fun and increases the aggravation of teamwork. The few gains are a result of not going to the office.
It will take time to rebuild the positive elements of working together. Those back in the office will be much farther along than those still working remotely. Regardless, leaders can boost team bonding with three rebuilding techniques. Get the three techniques at: Leading Beyond the Pandemic
Take Care of Yourself
Leading a team out of the pandemic is tough. Chronic stress makes people much more reactive. Look no further than the national conflicts over vaccines, masks, schools, and lockdowns for a prime example of how people erupt when pressured. Moreover, leaders have been under the same pandemic stress. While leading your team, engage support to build your resilience. Contact me for personalized attention for yourself and your team.