I was recently asked by a writer to jot down some thoughts on creating a better team and dealing with stressed co-workers. I was also recently interviewed about dealing with a "bully" at work. So, I guess I am the go-to guy about negative people at work.
When the bully article is posted, I will send a link. Until then, here are some thoughts on teamwork and dealing with stressed co-workers.
1. To me, successful teamwork is asking yourself one question: “How can I make the other people around me more successful?” If you answer that question and act on it, you can help create a better team (and help your stressed co-worker in the process). Most people come to work and say, “How can everyone else make ME more successful?” If you don’t care who gets the credit, if you learn to support and take care of the person next to you, the entire work environment will quickly change.
2. Help your teammates (stressed or otherwise) take ownership of their happiness and passion. Too many times, employees let other people’s actions or words determine their happiness. Happiness is a choice. Unfortunately, when we give control to other employees, managers, customers, partners, or vendors, we are never very happy. We have to take back that ownership. Would you, as a normal, sane person, really make the choice to wake up in the morning, comb your hair, brush your teeth and say, “Man, I am bitter, frustrated and angry. I can’t wait to get to work.” No, you wouldn’t. Yet, people do that every day. We have no control over many things at work. We always can have control of our reaction and our attitude.
3. Be patient and positive in your tone of voice. Sounds simple, but a reassuring and patient tone in your voice will do wonders for teamwork and for helping your stressed co-worker.
4. Take a break. Again, a simple idea but something that has very real results. Ever try and assemble something from the store? Ever get frustrated? Ever throw the directions across the room in frustration? Stop, take a break, and then reassess. Just a few moments away will give you the energy to move forward.
5. Be in the moment with your co-workers. Working in the moment means being focused and connected. Listen to each other. Make eye contact. Engage in the communication process. If you want to create more stress, then check your e-mail on your phone during a meeting. During one recent meeting with a new client to discuss their conference, one VP wouldn’t make eye contact. The other two participants kept sending texts on their mobile device. Nobody was in the moment with me or with each other.
6. Tell your co-workers you appreciate them. We all want positive support at work. When we don’t receive appreciation and thanks, we are not very happy. You know how you feel when someone says, “You made a difference,” or “Great job,” or “I really appreciate your help.” You get an incredible feeling right in the middle of your chest. Giving that feeling is a gift. And it doesn’t take a budget, plan, or approval. It just takes a few seconds from your day.
Joel Zeff (http://www.joelzeff.com/) is a national workplace expert, speaker and humorist. His spontaneous humor and vital messages have thrilled audiences for years. Corporations and organizations nationwide seek him out to motivate and energize their employees on such topics as work/life balance, passion at work, creativity, communication, teamwork, and leadership. His first book, “Make the Right Choice: Creating a Positive, Innovative and Productive Work Life” was just published by John Wiley & Sons. For more information on his book, please visit http://www.maketherightchoicethebook.com/.
Joel Zeff and Joel Zeff Creative retain the ownership and rights to this article. If you would like to reprint or publish this article in your blog or other media, please send an e-mail to the author for permission.