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The Boomer Bulletin - 2012
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Reduce Stress in the Workforce

Posted By Sue Thiemann, Monday, March 12, 2012
Many people find an accounting career rewarding, both personally and financially. 
However, during tax season those rewards come with hard work and long hours which often produce stress among coworkers.  You need to know how to best manage this stress and maintain a work–life balance in order to deal with these hectic times.

One of the best things you can do in the work environment to reduce stress is to choose to show respect to your coworkers, peers and the leaders in the firm. In Todd Smith’s book Little Things Matter, he states: "To earn respect you must show respect.” Showing respect in the workplace is the first building block for the success of relationships with coworkers while reducing the stress level that takes place especially during tax season.  

Ask anyone in your workplace what they most want from coworkers to help defuse the stress level at this time. They will likely top their list with the desire to be treated with dignity and respect. Popular songs tout the need for respect. Everybody needs a little respect. You know when you have respect. You know when you don’t. But what is respect really? And, how is respect demonstrated at work?

First let’s talk about what respect is not. What actions might be offensive to other people we work with? It seems as if it should be blatantly obvious. But if it were, I wouldn't even be addressing the issue here. Let's take a look now at actions that may offend your co-workers (in no particular order). 

Having loud telephone conversations - especially personal callsLying or telling half-truths or asking someone to lie for you
Not cleaning up after yourself in the staff kitchen or other common areasBlaming someone else when you are at fault
Showing up lateTaking credit for someone else's work
Barging into another's office without asking if it is convenient for themAsking a coworker to do something unrelated to work, i.e. run errands
Neglecting to say please and thank youComplaining about the company, boss and coworkers
Taking the last of something without replacing itWithholding information or being closed-minded about other ideas
Talking behind someone's backAnd the list goes on...

You can demonstrate respect with simple, yet powerful actions. These ideas (or reminders) will help reduce stress in the workplace along with avoiding needless, insensitive, unmeant disrespect.

Speak with a firm, but calm voice; speak slowly and clearlyBe polite by being thankful, appreciative and sensitive
Be reliable and dependableTreat people with courtesy, politeness and kindness
Encourage coworkers to express opinions and ideasUse other people's ideas to improve work - give them credit
Never insult people, name call, disparage or put down people or their ideasDo not nit-pick, constantly criticize over little things, belittle, judge, demean or patronize
Praise much more frequently than you criticizeFace the person you are communicating with and make and keep eye contact
Listen intently  and intentionally to what is being said or explainedUse body language and facial expressions that are open and accepting, smiling, nodding, etc.
Stand and/or sit straight up while exchanging ideas with a coworkerUse I-messages to share your opinion
State disagreements and personal opinion, not as a factAnd the list goes on...

The golden rule does apply at work, or, as professional speaker Leslie Charles, says, "Implement the platinum rule: treat others as they wish to be treated.” 

There are many other ways to demonstrate respect at work. These few ideas constitute a solid foundation. Implemented consistently at work, these respectful actions help ensure a respectful, considerate, professional work place while reducing the stress both yours and your coworkers.

When we look at the truly successful organizations of both today and yesterday, we find their leaders fostered these principles of creating trust and respect. Consider the great military leaders of history (Augustus Caesar, Oliver Cromwell and George Washington), as well as the genuinely great political leaders (yes, there actually have been some: Joan of Arc, Peter the Great and Gandhi). And then there are the highly respected industrial leaders (Henry Ford, Lee Iacocca and Jack Welch). All of these great leaders built trust and respect among their superiors, peers and subordinates, and it was this that spurred success and greatness for themselves, their units, alliances and companies.

I encourage you to be a leader in your firm by extending respect among your coworkers within your workplace.

What are some of your ideas to reduce stress in the workplace during the tax season?  

Click on "Comment on this Post” and tell us what you are doing in your workplace. 

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