If your team gets on your nerves more than anything, you are not alone in this frustration. A report from the American Institute of Stress found that our team dynamics directly affect more than 90% of what is stressing us out at work. Those petty feuds and disagreements with coworkers take a toll on our minds and bodies. One in four of us said we wanted to scream over this job stress. Our heavy workload, people issues, and our failure to balance our work and personal lives were the top three stressors.
Why your team drama stresses you out
Team drama gets under our skin because it reminds us that we do not have control and autonomy over our careers. You cannot get that lazy coworker to work harder or stop a mercurial manager’s bad mood. When we feel out of control at work, we feel helpless, which in turn, causes us unhealthy stress. “Increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders,” the report warned.
In “Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From,” writer Dean Burnett said that a sense of control and a sense of competence were the top two predictors to feeling happy at work. “Jobs that strip you of autonomy with strict rules/policies (dress codes, micromanagement, etc.) and/or make you constantly beholden to others (telesales, retail, etc.) are widely regarded as unpleasant and a source of stress,” he wrote. When you have an overbearing boss breathing down your neck over deadlines, you feel less in control over how your day is going to go. It increases your risk of burnout.
To reduce burnout, managers must help employees feel in control of their work. That starts with meeting with them one-on-one and asking them how they are doing so that they feel less isolated. “The very act of soliciting team members’ input reduces stress levels, giving them the feeling that they are, at the very least, heard. This also leads to team buy-in, proprietorship, and the feeling of responsibility for team performance and well-being,” leadership consultant Andrew D. Wittman wrote about the report.