A little stress is a good thing, but be careful not to be “in the grip”

Jolene Watson, president, Clarity Coaching and Development

All workplaces require give and take. Communication skills are often needed and seldom taught. A simple thing like the golden rule — treat others as you would have them treat you  — can work wonders, but what about the platinum rule? That is, would treating others the way they want to be treated have even more positive results?

Farms are workplaces too with the complicating factor that the coworkers are also often family members. Jolene Watson, president of Clarity Coaching and Development made a presentation to SaskCanola’s Learn to Lead conference about how to make sure everyone’s well-being is taken into account. (Story continues after audio.)

Watson found herself, at a very young age, in a senior management position, and she realized she needed to better understand how to get the best from her workforce. She says, “What led me to the personality side and the communications and stress management training was when I was 20, I was in charge of firing, hiring, and motivating the staff, and so I really took an interest in the psychology and how to motivate my team members and choose the right team members.”

Watson says little bit of stress is actually good for most people. “Under a little bit of stress we actually exaggerate our strengths”

It’s too much stress that causes problems. One of the tell-tale signs of too much stress is something called being “in the grip.” Watson explains what this looks like, and how important it is to recognize it. “It’s important to know that when you’re under extreme stress we actually flip our personality type, and the area of our personality that we’ve avoided and not used will come straight to the surface and that’s usually out of character, and sometimes, inappropriate.”

If someone who is outgoing all of a sudden goes quiet, we need to take notice. Watson says, “That would be a red flag. Especially if it’s someone I know and trust and hangout with on a continual basis., I would make sure that I approach that person, mention that they are out of character and how can I help them get back to balance.”

A strategy that most of us fall back on is treating others as you would have them treat you. This is a very good start, but it assumes that the other person wants to be treated like you want to be treated. Watson talks about the “Platinum Rule” which is treating others the way they want to be treated. This is much more difficult and requires strong listening skills so you can find out what the other person wants and needs.

As we come into the new year many of us will be taking stock of our cash flows, our bank accounts, and our waistlines. It is also a very good time to take stock of our relationships and how our friends families and co-workers are doing. I hope that everyone finds, after a little bit of checking, that their personal accounts are starting off 2019 in good shape.

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