Speaker Blog by Laura Capell-Abra

I’m not proud to admit it but I don’t think I’m alone in saying I’ve definitely blamed other people for things that were my fault.  My Mum used to joke when we were younger that, “Mr Nobody has done it again has he?” when my sisters and I would all sit looking blankly at her knowing full well that we were the ones that had eaten all the chocolates off the Christmas tree, broken another plate or covered our clothes in mud whilst playing in the garden. 

The need to take responsibility develops as we get older and in an industry like this, when you rely so heavily on a team working well together; I’m a big believer in owning up to your mistakes and taking responsibility.  It creates trust between team members and allows everyone to feel like it is human to make the odd mistake rather than creating a culture where individuals drop someone else in it – rightly or wrongly, and you are heavily reprimanded for human error. 

We all make mistakes and I know I’ve made some whoppers in my time but I know I’ve learnt from each of them and I can be damn sure that I’ve never made the same mistake twice. What I am not supportive of is those that make the same mistakes time and time again without recognising their role in the issue. 

Saying that, the subject of workplace stress is a tough one.  I want to say everyone is responsible for their own destiny and therefore are responsible for their own stress but I’m also aware the impact of a toxic environment can have on someone being left to feel like they can’t control their own world.

Did you know – 34% people leave their jobs because of stress and 46% individuals leave because of their boss.

As an employer, when you’ve got a team, you have a duty of care for those individuals, “this means making sure that workers and others are protected from anything that may cause harm, effectively controlling any risks to injury or health that could arise in the workplace.”  Doing what is ‘reasonably practical’ to reduce the potential threats in the working environment – mental and physical. Putting the fact that it is a legal requirement to look after others aside, it’s also a nice thing to do. 

Thinking about others – empathy, is a sign of a nice person (someone with emotional intelligence) and who doesn’t want to be a nice person?   

When I used to run an events agency, I was very conscious that my team were the company, they were the ones winning, designing, creating and delivering the events.  If it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t have been the company it was.  I therefore was keen to do everything I could do to make sure my team were happy, effective, productive and doing the best job they could do.  You need to create the optimum environment and culture to get the best out of people. 

But it also doesn’t matter how supportive a culture you offer as an employer, if the individual doesn’t recognise when they need to find balance, re-address their priorities and recognise their own triggers, stress is still not removed – but it can be significantly reduced.

I believe the secret in managing stress is around self-awareness; being able to understand when you are stressed and what is making you feel stressed is the power most people need to start making the right choices for their positive wellbeing. 

As a nation, we are not great at being self-aware.  Ninety-five per cent of people think they’re self-aware, but the reality is closer to 10-15 per cent, which means on a good day, 80 per cent of us are lying to ourselves, we are a group of people that are not encouraged to talk about ourselves, not encouraged to reflect on what we have done well and why and how we impact the people around us. 

So a bit like the health and safety, it’s everyone’s responsibility to take workplace stress seriously.  However, I don’t see is sitting firmly in the middle – it is incredibly hard for an individual to change their stress level when the organisation around them, the people they speak to every day and the company that helps them pay their mortgage and put food on the table is conspiring against them.

So if you look after a team, it isn’t too late to take responsibility and admit that you might have made a few mistakes.  And if you think your employers could be doing to help you more, check out the ‘Stress Matters pledge’ but also see what you can do to really understand your own personal relationship with stress. 

Look after yourself, look after your team and you will see the benefits.  Companies that experience high engagement also experience 147 percent higher earnings per share.

Laura Capell-Abra is speaking at our upcoming flagship event, CHS18 – Click Here for further details

Latest from the Blog