Monday, October 18, 2021

Why Stress Can be Good for You

 



Got stress?

If you're like most of the human race, the answer is "yes."

But is stress such a bad thing? There's been a lot of discussion about how many people are quitting their jobs after having time to reflect during the pandemic lockdown. They decided that they were tired of the stress of their jobs, and wanted something different.

Still, according to research by Alia Crum, an assistant professor at Stanford University, stress doesn't have to always be debilitating. For example, you might be stressed before a big presentation at work or an important meeting, but is that really a threat? Or, can it be "appraised" by you as something that's difficult, but you have the resources to overcome?

Stress, she explains, is complex. Some people simplify it and see it as something that can make you sick. But if you challenge your assumptions, you may start to see that stress can be "enhancing," she says.

Specifically, stress can boost your cognitive functioning, physical health and how you interact with others.

"Stress can help you rise to a new level of understanding, can deepen your connection to others, can make us physiologically grow tougher and stronger," she says. "Having that focus shifts our attention and behaviors in ways that make that mindset more true." 

Instead of viewing stress as something that is going to adversely affect you, open your mind to the idea that stress should be welcomed because it can add value. 

"Inherently underneath the stress is a true value, a true care, a true purpose. And we wouldn't be in this situation if it wasn't for something that mattered. And we wouldn't be stressed about it if it wasn't for something that mattered," she says.

To learn more about Crum's take on stress, check out more here.


Monday, October 11, 2021

Do This One Thing to Be a Better Listener



Are you a good listener?

Most people believe they are good listeners, yet others often don't say the same about them. 

That can lead to a lot of misunderstandings, frustrations and hurt feelings. At work, it can harm your professional reputation or even lead to you missing out on some new opportunities because the boss doesn't believe you are a good listener.

A recent study of providing better customer service also provides some real insight into how we can all become better listeners, whether it's dealing with a customer or a colleague.

The key: Being concrete when responding.

This means that instead of saying something generic like, "I'll help you with that," or "That can be fixed," you are more definitive in your answer. "I'll help you correct that report before it goes to the client," or "I can fix that email marketing campaign so that it goes to the right people," shows the speaker that you clearly understand the issue and have been listening.

In other words, when you use words like "that," it's too vague and doesn't make the speaker feel like you are paying attention. It sounds too generic, as if you're making an automated response while you're really thinking about something else.

When you show others that you are paying attention, they feel more connected to you and it helps establish greater trust and a belief in your abilities. So, don't be wishy-washy in your responses, but instead try to offer concrete answers.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Study: Work Interruptions Aren't Always Bad



Does it get on your last nerve when you're in the "zone" at work and then someone interrupts you?

If so, you're not alone. But interruptions aren't always a bad thing, finds a new study by the University of Missouri.

If an interruption is related to work -- the boss wants to talk about a new project or a colleague has a question about a process -- then that interruption can further increase your engagement in work. But, if someone interrupts you to talk about last night's hockey game or some other non-work related issue, then it hurts employee engagement, the study finds.

Also, the research reveals that a work-related interruption often increased collaboration, while the non-work related interruption did not.

That's something to consider as more companies use virtual interactions to stay connected to employees who may work from home some, or all, of the time. Not having the chance to drop in and talk about work from time-to-time may hurt engagement and collaboration.

Still, that doesn't mean employers should forbid casual conversations about other topics.

"Employers may want to limit non-work-related interruptions, but that doesn't mean they should get rid of them all together," says John Bush, assistant professor of management at the Trulaske College of Business at MU. "There are interpersonal benefits, such as strengthened relationships, that can stem from these non-work-related interactions."