In these economic times, employees everywhere are feeling stressed and anxious. This can lead to fear, uncertainty and feelings of unrest at work that can result in people being unproductive.
Emotions are contagious and one of the key drivers in stress management. A significant role of the manager in any team is to manage their own emotions, their interactions with others and therefore their health, emotional wellbeing, and effectiveness of the team. Here are 5 do's and 5 don'ts of managing stress in your workplace.
- focus on strengths
- keep workload in check
- allow space for positivity
- prioritize relationships
- know that wellbeing is a must
- foster perfectionism
- be negative
- ignore the signs
We know from research that 8 out of 10 people don't get to do what they do best each day, leading to decreased effectiveness and increased stress. Do a strengths survey like the free one at Viame.org with your team so you know what drives them and helps them to thrive.
One of the key drivers of stress for employees is having too much work to get done and not enough time or resources to do it. Especially in times of layoffs and cutbacks, this feeling of stress is heightened. Keep a close eye on your team members and ensure that they are not overloaded and that they have the resources to deliver the results you need.
We know that fostering positive emotions in people promotes wellbeing and lessens stress. Emotions such as awe, amusement, joy, humour and even love, are all proven ways to lower stress and enhance the happiness and productivity levels of employees. Find ways to bring the fun and play into work each day.
One of the most important ways people thrive at work is through connecting with others. Promote everything that allows employees to connect in meaningful ways with each other, both inside and outside of work. Having a friend at work has been stated as one of the keys to well being and less stress in the workplace, so make this a priority.
Busyness can be worn as a badge of honour by employees looking to impress the boss. Long hours, boasting about pulling an all-nighter, emails at 2am and late night conference calls are all ways people become stressed out workaholics. As the manager, make sure you are sending the right messages by looking after your own wellbeing and investing your time and energy in making sure your team is too.
Letting your team strive for perfection in everything they do adds unnecessary stress to the work day. Don't let your people set unrealistic goals for themselves or you will set them up for stress and failure.
One of the leaders roles is to protect their team from many of the management or executive dramas that invariably go on in any workplace. Staying positive and avoiding negative thinking, and if you can't, keeping that away from your team is key to managing the stress of your people.
There are some managers who are control freaks and need to be across every detail of what their people are doing at all times. This is a recipe for disaster and fuels major stress and resentment in people. Learn to trust what people are doing until you have a reason not to. People will rise to the challenge if you give them responsibility and trust they will deliver, providing support as required.
If you see that your people are struggling, are over stressed or even unwell, don't ignore it. This sounds obvious, but when the pressure is on, it is all too easy for managers to look the other way. Please don't. Step in. Connect and query what is going on that is causing the stress, and do what you can do really alleviate it. Your wellbeing of your people must be the key priority, not outcomes. You have a duty of care, so follow through with that.
It can be tempting in close working relationships for managers to become close to their employees. But its important not to be too close, meaning there has to be a boundary with what you can share. Be sure not to offload your stress and issues as a manager onto your team members. Stay behind the line of appropriateness so you don't inadvertently cause harm where you don't mean too.
It can be challenging to manage not only your own stress as a leader, but that of your employees as well. Use these tips to keep on track and you will have the tools in your management kit bag to be the best manager you can be, and have thriving employees as well.