Our 4C model for intelligent performance makes it easy to understand the causes of stress and anxiety in the workplace and the negative effect they have on motivation, engagement and performance.
Here we look at the 16 sub areas within the model.
This glossary is a list of the different areas of work life investigated by WeThrive, with explanations of what they are and why they are important to you and your company. As you work with your people to improve scores in these areas you will see that they overlap – changes in one area will lead to changes in another, everything is connected to everything else.
While this glossary is a list of words, they refer to a set of interlocking neuronal and hormonal systems inside the human being, all of which affect each other. We give emotions separate names in an attempt to understand and work with them, but emotions themselves are inextricably mixed and inter-dependent.
This makes it hard to talk about why work is sometimes difficult – we just don’t understand the problem in words. WeThrive is here to diagnose and give names to the underlying problems in people’s work lives, so that they can be discussed and straightened out, and people set free to have a more fulfilling, effective and enjoyable time at work.
Company and Customers
People are more motivated when they feel properly connected to those who benefit from their work. Low scores here may mean the end uses are not communicated back to these team members in ways that make the work seem meaningful.
You cannot be motivated for a task that is unclear. People will be more efficient where work is defined in plain language that relates to real-world objects and actions rather than concepts. It needs to be achievable with the available knowledge, skills and resources.
We work better when sharing aims and ideas with other people, and if the social group is working well the result will be more than the sum of its parts. Low scores here may mean the group needs better ways of checking if they have the same picture in their heads of what they are trying to achieve.
To co-operate the team needs: a clear, shared picture of what needs doing; all the necessary knowledge, skills and resources; and a feeling of being part of a functioning group. However there are still other reasons why a group would fragment and stop co-operating. If scores here are low, ask if the team leader is credible, and whether individuals' needs are met by not co-operating.
Working without all the necessary knowledge raises anxiety levels and reduces performance. Treat knowledge gaps as opportunities for development, and encourage openness and sharing of areas where team members would like to feel more secure. Also check that procedures are jargon-free, written in plain language and in concrete terms.
Working without all the necessary skills is slower and more error prone, but also creates embarrassment and anxiety. These reduce functional intelligence and compromise performance further.
Resource gaps create uncertainty about whether people will be able to do tasks easily. It is frustrating to have to commit to a task knowing it will be harder than necessary, and dents people's self-esteem and sense of usefulness in the organisation.
People who feel that they are competent and achieving something in their work will work better and enjoy coming in to work. This depends on their having all the necessary knowledge skills and resources, and on their being stretched a little - and supported - so that they can have the satisfaction of knowing they have cracked problems and achieved at work.
People become distressed when they feel isolated or ignored. Low scores here may reflect actual isolation or relationships that are not working properly, either with co-workers or managers. Reasons may be historical, geographical, cultural or due to tensions within groups that need exploring.
When there is a good team spirit the quality of collaboration and performance increase significantly. Low scores reflect divisions - some people may feel disconnected from the enterprise, perhaps because of communication problems -or there may be groups who have differing agendas for reasons of their own.
Workplace status should derive from doing things which are useful to the group. For this to happen their achievements and contributions have to be recognised, perhaps publicised. Even people in low-status occupations should have their contributions acknowledged where appropriate and possible.
People who feel insecure find it hard to think, though they will probably not have realised why. Low scores here may indicate people who feel insecure about their job security, physical safety or their ability to do the job well.
Most people feel more motivated when they have some control and autonomy in the way they work. If scores are low ask if there is too much going on for people to cope, and consider whether work could be re-arranged to everyone's advantage.
Biology requires that people have periodic breaks to allow the brain to recover, otherwise learning stops and they become fatigued and demotivated. Breaks every 90 minutes - where people can de-compress, away from screens - improve accuracy and enthusiasm and reduce the danger of errors or accidents.
Free from worry
Anxiety reduces intelligence, is dangerous to health and is a powerful distraction, so anxiety scores are a good indicator of workplace environment and culture. Some people naturally worry more than others but anything you can do to reduce anxiety will increase their capacity to do something else.
Meaning is the ultimate motivator, the reason why people do voluntary work. So the more meaningful work is for people the better. People generally find work meaningful if it stretches them so they learn, and if it is genuinely useful to other people.