Are you stressed because one or several colleagues who are important to your role are either not doing what they should, preventing you from achieving, hate you, are in severe conflict with you? Are there people who need to be there, but no one will fill those posts? Too many new people who are not up to speed?

People, There is often no greater source of stress at work than other people. There are usually so many of them to deal with one way or another – colleagues, bosses, subordinates, customers, suppliers, regulators, auditors, consultants. All sorts of people have different roles in and around even the smallest business.

The problem with work is that you will encounter all sorts of people. People who you might never choose to socialise with under other circumstances. People you may not like, or get on with. People who are the total opposite to you.

The problem is, this doesn’t matter – you are all there to get on with your respective roles and to that extent it is impersonal.

The problem is it does matter, because as human-beings we are hard-wired to seek out our tribe (people who are like us, or people we aspire to be like) and avoid people who are “other”, i.e. not like us, or who we absolutely do not want to be like.

In one way, this is a great source of comfort. We all like to think we are enlightened and can work together regardless and there are lots of tools and skills we can develop to make this so. However, at the end of the day groups have their own dynamics and sometimes, for no reason or fault you just don’t fit in.

If you find yourself in this situation it is up to you how you choose to react and what you choose to do about it. But if you have learned all the tips and techniques for working with people and it still doesn’t gel, you know you did your best. If the group continues to treat you (possibly unconsciously) like an outsider, this may not really be about you.

So – I write extensively about people elsewhere, but as with the rest of stress sources we discuss – map it out. Pin-point the real problem. Do a mind-map or diagram of all the people you work with, and just rate your happiness with the relationship, or level of stress from 1 – 10 with each person.

Do this instinctively without much thought. Then look over it and reflect – why did you score it how you did? What are the sources of friction? Is it just neglect, ignorance or lack of interaction? Are there people you could not score highly because you have made little effort to get to know them? What are your top three worst relationships? Is there a theme or pattern there? Reflect on your best relationships – why do they work so well?

Map it out, because knowledge is power, and you already know all this, you just haven’t given it the conscious thought and focus you need to develop your awareness.

Did my relationship mapping exercise help? What stress points have you identified? Leave a comment below, and let me know.

Till next time!
Veronica x