Unexpected Solutions For Managers to Reduce Stress in the Workplace

Unexpected Solutions For Managers to Reduce Stress in the Workplace

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress at work is to lead with compassion. Investing in your people helps set them on a path to success. By supporting their growth you help clear their path of obstacles — whether that means redefining processes that bottleneck production, or simply by making it easy to ask for a day off. This week I discuss what compassion really means and why it’s important, and offer some practical ways to lead with compassion. 

Compassion vs. Empathy

Compassion and empathy are often mistakenly used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. Empathy is the ability to relate to another person’s pain as if it’s your own. Like sympathy, empathy is a feeling state. For example, last December, my dad had a major heart attack. Now, when I hear someone struggling because their family member had a heart attack, I can feel their pain. It’s a passive feeling that is grounded in emotion but isn’t actually an action.

On the other hand, compassion allows us to put empathy to work and take action to help minimize the pain of the other person. Compassion recognizes the suffering of others and takes actions to help, using tangible expressions of care directed at those who are suffering.

Compassion Equation

Why is compassion important?

When we’re being compassionate, a few subtle, but powerful things happen. Compassion helps us form deep and strong connections, improves collaboration, raises the levels of trust between one another, and enriches our loyalty to one another. Repeatedly, academic studies demonstrate that compassionate leaders are perceived as stronger and more competent, too.

5 Actionable Routines for Cultivating Compassion

The really great news here is that compassion is a skill we can learn. Like learning how to swim or play the piano, compassion is something we can learn through practice. Here are 5 simple practices you can do to start cultivating compassion:

Have more self-compassion. First, let go of obsessive self-criticism. Cultivate self-talk that is positive and caring. This can actually help you get out of your own way and become more productive. 

Check your intention. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Ask in any given moment, “how can I best be of benefit to this person or these people?” If there is something you can do to be of support, do it. 

Adopt a daily compassion practice. Our brains have an incredible level of neuroplasticity, enabling you to develop most any skill and get stronger and more prominently-displayed, over time. Listen to this 5 min compassion meditation that talks you through how to embody compassion in action right away. 

Practice candid transparency. When offering constructive feedback, don’t sugarcoat it. If an employee needs support, give them the tools and feedback so they can improve. Being clear is kind. Don’t be mean, but do not be afraid to be direct and transparent. 

One daily compassion interaction. Practice something 10,000 times before you can master it. Look at your calendar for the rest of the day and see who you are meeting with next. Think about this person and how you can support them during your call. 

Put these exercises into action today, and practice them every day, and I guarantee after a month you’ll be seeing the fruits of your labor. It’s putting Namaste to work, for all the right reasons!

Office Yoga offers virtual meditation, desk yoga, and office yoga flow classes to large corporations, B Corps, and individuals. Contact us here; we would love to hear from you!

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