Is your team better at dealing with stressful situations as they are taking place? Or, they are better at “getting over it” once they’ve had time to “cool down?” Psychological resilience is one of the key strengths we should all learn during our lifetime. Let’s take a closer look at how stress affects a team’s resilience and ability to overcome obstacles. A candidate's resilience strengths should be taken into consideration during any hiring process, especially when positioning new hires into immediate areas of concern and/or high-stressor environments. Team resilience development can also be applied when optimizing the existing workforce, replicating top performers and developing new leaders from within.
How to assess stress within your team
The Holmes Scale for Stress is an excellent tool to measure the stress level of your team, which you can download here. Stress can be caused from a variety of reasons, including holidays, leaving for or returning from vacation, a change in responsibilities or deadlines at work, and inevitable life events.
Our ability – or lack, thereof – to adapt in the face of adversity can lead to more serious problems with our health, careers, families, and ongoing living conditions. Our strengths develop from our resilience to negative situations, and reviewing each team member’s DISC graph results will reveal their level of resilience and DISC Personality Style.
Stressors and stress reactions of each personality style
Some people don’t deal well with confrontation, and may find themselves allowing frustration to bottle up. The longer it bottles up, the more damage can be expected to occur. This type of stress can destroy you from within. Likewise, those who are able to confront challenges right away may find they quickly return to their natural state. Generally speaking, stressors for each personality style arise from their dominant fears:
- The “D” style fears being taken advantage of, and that’s why any loss of control, such as losing a competition or having to take orders, will stress them out. A “D” under stress will become very demanding of themselves and others; they work even harder and may snap on the spot if you step on their toes.
- The “I” style will try to avoid rejection at any cost. They start to feel under pressure when they feel they are not liked or are being excluded. The stressed "I" will bury their head in the sand, hoping the problem will go away.
- “S” personalities fear a loss of security, so any conflict, sudden change or asking them to multitask will make them anxious. If you see your "S" style colleague slow things down, they're probably stressed. They tend to withdraw to a more secure emotional ground and become non-verbal.
- “C” style people don’t like being criticized, so a sudden change of deadlines may make them feel overwhelmed as they’re worried of making a mistake. As a result, they'll start gathering more data, shift the blame, and "drag" their feet" to avoid being wrong.
Helping your team cope with stress
The team environment is just one instance of daily communication taking place. We openly interact with our co-workers when united under a common goal and objective. Together, we face the pressures of compliance, time constraint and difficult customers. We face the challenge of making magic happen under minimal budgets, while being expected to perform well. There are several approaches a team leader or coach can apply to help any team better cope with stress:
- Ask the "D" style to slow down. This alone will relieve the pressure off everyone else. This results-oriented personality needs to learn to consider the people around them and have all the facts before they proceed to a decision or action.
- Make sure the representatives of the "I" style are aware of and focus on the problem at-hand. They will need to assume responsibility and take ownership of the outcome.
- "S" styles traditionally will try to avoid conflict and pretend to handle stress well, but all they need is some team support to move faster, share their internalized feelings and thoughts, and make decisions.
- “C” personalities need to understand nobody is perfect (even them!) and sometimes you can make a decision based on available data. Ensure them if the results are as expected, they did a great job – reconfirming their contribution will ease the stress off them the next time.
With a greater support system, your team members will more easily get over their fears, build up their resilience, and cut the strings that have been holding them back. Self-awareness and nurturing work together to help keep things in perspective. Read also how to turn around a failing team by leading from within.