The Importance of Compassion to manage stress at the workplace

According to The American Institute of stress- “83 per cent of US workers suffer from work-related stress” and “Almost 82 per cent of India's population is suffering from stress” reveals the Cigna's 360 well-being survey 2019.

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As our world progresses today, with so much modernisation, competition and the need to be the best amongst one's field of work, we also notice a surge in the number of stress levels.

According to The American Institute of stress- “83 per cent of US workers suffer from work-related stress” and “Almost 82 per cent of India's population is suffering from stress” reveals the Cigna's 360 well-being survey 2019.

As a major part of one's life is spent at work, it is crucial for the well being of both the employees and the leaders that a healthy work atmosphere is maintained in an organisation to reduce the amount of stress and burden thus leading to better productivity and growth of the organisation.

If stress is not managed well at the right time, it can cause both mental and physical health block-ages and issues such as anxiety, depression as well issues like cervical, back pains, migraines etc- hampering the workability of an employee and the efficiency of the team.

With the growing awareness around stress and mental well being, it is becoming important that the organisations today, take the right measures in order to tackle these issues and to inculcate a healthy work culture where there are better relations, more clarity, reduced conflicts and enhanced productivity it is important for a Leader to be more compassionate towards their team and employees.

‘Compassion is the ability to be more understanding, empathetic, aware and conscious of ones behaviour towards self and others.’ Being compassionate would comprise of a Leader being more aware of their own emotions and feelings as well as the teams because until one is connected to their own self, it is difficult for them to connect to others. It also includes being more trusting, kind, supporting and motivating. Contrary to the belief that “A team performs better under pressure’ be-ing compassionate involves respecting and treating the team with more kindness.

How a Leader can be more Compassionate towards their team-

1) Understanding and Developing a connect

A workplace and its teams comprise of people coming in from different spheres of life, varied cultures, backgrounds, value and belief systems as well as different work experience backgrounds which shapes their personality and working style. It is important for a leader to be sensitive towards these factors and be more understanding and cooperative to manage them better and develop a personalized connect with them thus helping the employees to feel more secure and belonged. For example; having outings with the team once in a month to go the extra mile in connecting with the team, having group discussions taking the inputs of all the team members involved would provide as a great tool to create a connection with them.

2) Communication and Empowerment

In today's world of stress, as each person is losing connection with their own self and the world around them communication plays a great role in helping people manage their stress.

While it is important for a leader to have work-related communication and discussion, the availability of a leader to discuss any challenges that the employee may be dealing with, being more empathetic and kind while delivering any feedback or criticism and trusting the employees with the given task while supervising them would give them a sense of responsibility and empowerment thus leading to more inclination and efforts from their end. For instance, an open door policy followed by some organisations makes the Leaders more approachable and the environment lighter and friendly.

3) Being more aware and sensitive

Stress can have a direct impact on one's workability and productivity, thus if a leader notices an employee is unable to perform their best for a while or looks like they are under stress, it is always a good idea to reach out and ask if they are dealing with something and if any support could be extended from the leaders’ end as support from the authority could go a great way in reducing a per-sons’ stress and dealing with their issues at hand.

4) Motivation and Recognition

While compassion involves being more empathetic and understanding, it also involves providing the team with the right motivation and recognition regularly to drive them to perform better as well as boosting the morale of the other team members who are working towards achieving better. Recognition, gratitude and appreciation help an individual develop a positive self-image and helps them feel better about themselves and their work.

5) Creating a positive successful environment-

Providing a mental well-being mechanism of help in order for people to be able to manage their stress better such as certain team building activities, stress management, yoga and meditation classes, workshops on how to be more successful and emotionally intelligent. Creating Vision boards for personal and team success, having pinboards for the employees with positive affirmations written relating to success, happiness and peace written could be a great way to help stay the team relaxed and motivated.

While a Leader can try their best to support the team in addition to their own roles and responsibilities, sometimes having a tie-up with a mental health organisation or having a counsellor on panel who could help them process their emotions, stress and pressures could help in developing a positive work environment and culture, promoting employee well being, better team management, stress reduction, lesser attrition and absenteeism, personal and professional growth for the employees and the organisation.

Compassion is not just a practice, it is actually a way of being, which works on all spheres of a person's life and enhances their personal, professional, emotional and physical well-being.


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