No place for stress in teams

No place for stress in teams

The founder of Mapmygenome India, Anu Acharya, talks about the importance of taking steps to prevent stress at workplace. In her company, she encourages physical health and fitness as it leads to better performers

ANU ACHARYA

ANU ACHARYA

In an art class, the teacher asked seven-year-olds to draw pictures of their mothers. One little girl drew a picture of a woman with a laptop. She seemed to be carrying a huge bag. When the teacher asked about the picture, the girl replied, “Mommy is always working on the laptop. Daddy says she carries a lot of stress, but I can’t see it.”

Like the little girl, many of us experience stress, but cannot or refuse to be aware of it – in ourselves or in others. In a workplace, ignoring stress can have detrimental effects at the individual and team levels. In individuals, stress may manifest as minor deviations in behavior or physical symptoms, but then surge into burnout and chronic health issues. Within teams, stress can impact performance, quality of deliverables, team spirit, and turnover. A smart leader would prevent or catch symptoms early and ensure corrective measures.

Team stress checklist

In many organizations, HR teams have checklists that run along these lines:

Have you noticed a recent increase in absenteeism or even presenteeism in many team members? (The latter happens at organization’s expense.) What are the measures taken in such a situation?

Have there been recent dips in overall performance of the team? What do your star performers have to say about this?

Is there an increase in squabbles and arguments in the team? What do you think have triggered these?

Is there an increase in employee turnover?

Do you find changes in team dynamics and behavior following the appointment of a new manager?

Have  teams stopped having fun together?

Small steps can beat workplace stress

Monitor: An observant leader can catch early symptoms and effect positive changes. Today, many HRs use tools such as WebNeuro to assess many factors related to self-regulation, emotion, feeling, and thinking. With corrective aids, counseling, and comparative assessments using WebNeuro, building a healthy team can become easier.

Motivate: History suggests that great men use motivation in wars to lead their armies to victory. Beating stress should be relatively easier.

Mitigate: Stress can never be good. Many leaders who recognize this offer adequate means to de-stress. At Mapmygenome, we punch away stress. Encouraging physical health and fitness also pays off – you have a healthier team of better performers. In addition, encouraging self-awareness can help in beating stress.

Given today’s deadlines and high pressure work scenarios, it is important to take steps that can prevent stress at workplace. While many cannot see stress, others find it almost fashionable to be in a stressed environment. Awareness is the key to get started on the journey from “stressed” to “de-stress”.


About the author:  Anu Acharya is the CEO of Mapmygenome India, a Genomics company whose vision is “Better Health using technology”. In 2013, she introduced the concept of improved healthcare through personal genomics in India with Genomepatri. Ever since, she has successfully pioneered the company through growing product lines, expanding affiliate network and a Pre-Series A round of funding.