Humans At Work with Michael Glazer

#91: Pressure, Stress and Resilience

Learn how to differentiate between pressure and stress, discover the benefits of resilience-building in teams and organizations, and explore practical methods to increase adaptability and maintain focus in high-pressure situations.

Lesley Cooper is the founder and CEO of WorkingWell Limited and the co-author of “Dangerous Waters – Strategies for Improving Wellbeing at Work”. She contributes to TV and radio programs in the UK on the subject of employee wellbeing, including Channel 4’s highly acclaimed documentary “Stressed Out”. Lesley is also a full member of the International Stress Management Association.

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Episode Highlights

1:10 The difference between pressure and stress

4:08 How pressure and stress impact performance

10:11 Resiliency is a shared responsibility between employee and employer

13:36 The skills that make up someone's agility

14:50 How to move from "rigid" to "adaptable" in the face of pressure

17:43 Awareness and choosing our responses

21:22 How self-talk plays into our level of resiliency

23:40 Making time for recovery during the workday

25:54 Insights on personal energy management

29:17 Organizational responsibility for building resiliency

31:39 Two modes of being present

34:45 Time management strategy to increase focus and presence

38:47 Balancing accountability and flexibility in leadership

Lesley’s view on the greatest unmet wellbeing need at work today

"I'd say the number one thing missing in today's workplace is a focus on the quality of the work environment. We are very focused on training people to be more resilient and helping them recover when they experience burnout, but it's like cleaning up a fish and putting them back in a dirty pond. There's not enough attention given to the toxicity in the work environment that may be contributing to burnout. We need to change that, but right now, the focus is primarily on secondary and tertiary interventions like training and treatment.

On a more specific level, the COVID pandemic and the shift to digital technology has led to a lack of water cooler moments and a greater focus on well-being interventions like products and services. However, there is not enough focus on the people actually doing the work. It's important to talk to the human doing the work, not just the task they're performing. I think this relates to your podcast series on the human aspect of well-being in the workplace.

Unfortunately, we've lost contact with each other, and it's become harder to have those inconsequential conversations that make people feel valued as humans. We tend to just talk about work, and that's a loss because when you employ someone, the whole person comes to work, not just the part that does the job. We should talk to the whole person to promote well-being in the workplace."

What “working with humans” means to Lesley

“For me, it is that it's about talking to the human being and not the task.”


Follow: Lesley on LinkedIn

Visit: WorkingWell Limited

Read: Dangerous Waters – Strategies for Improving Wellbeing at Work

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