Stress is contagious. If you spend most of your time with a nonstop worrywart, you'll start to worry, too. In fact, your stress level can rise simply by working closely with someone who's jittery, high-strung and overly fretful.
- By contrast, you'll feel less anxious if you're around a calm, pleasant coworker who accepts bad news with grace and remains even-tempered throughout the day. You'll also find it easier to avoid stress if you model yourself after a mature, resilient colleague who withstands workplace pressures.
- Look for these character traits in your closest colleagues:
- Optimism. You want to work with teammates who plan for--and expect to achieve-- favorable outcomes. Listen for comments such as, "We can and will accomplish this" or "It's up to us to succeed." Make similar remarks to inspire others. Beware of worst-case thinkers who assume the worst and find fault in even the best-laid plans.
- Perspective. Welcome coworkers who take a long-range view and who treat obstacles as challenges. When problems erupt, listen for comments such as, "This is just a bump in the road" or "Let's use this setback as a positive learning experience." Beware of people who say, "We'll never recover from this" or who overstate the negative ("This is the worst piece of equipment on Earth!").
- Self-control. When pressures mount, you want to work with steely personalities who won't buckle. You'll feel less stress if they remain calm in the face of disaster, as opposed to losing their temper or panicking.