We all experience stress in the workplace, but too much stress can cause our work and relationships to suffer. To spot the warning signs of stress overload in yourself or your team, use the Stress-APGAR test, which Thomas Hellwig and colleagues modeled after the APGAR scoring system used to evaluate newborns.
The Stress-APGAR test has five dimensions:
1. Appearance. Does the team member look overly tired or otherwise stressed?
2. Performance. Is the team member becoming less efficient or effective over time, which could be connected to increased distress? Or are they over-performing and neglecting other parts of their lives?
3. Growth tension. How does the team member react to new challenges or goals? Some people may seem overwhelmed while others seem bored.
4. Affect control. How well does the team member regulate his or her emotions while at the office, and has that changed recently? Emotional outbursts or mood swings may be signs of physical or mental pressure.
5. Relationship. Have the team member's working relationships with other staff deteriorated? Is the team member socially isolated? These personal relationships can be a barometer for stress.
Asking individuals to rate themselves can also be useful, leading to conversations about what help they need.
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