One of the best things you can do as a manager is to help moderate the level of stress your employees experience on a daily basis. Some of your employees or team members will handle stress better than others, but it’s important for you to be able to identify the signs of stress and take action before it gets out of control. In order to do this it’s essential that you understand what situations within the workplace might cause stress. Here are a few to consider:
Everyone experiences periods of time that are busier than others but you have to make sure that an excessive workload is not the norm. Are your team members constantly faced with high workloads and impossible deadlines? If so, they’ll feel overwhelmed and rushed and they’ll be more likely to make mistakes. Have you noticed a trend like this within your department? You may need to determine whether or not it’s possible to reshuffle the workload within your team structure, figure out whether or not you need to request additional staff, or simply approach upper management about the amount of work you are receiving.
There’s nothing worse than being asked to work on a special project only to find that the main project entails work skills you have no experience with. If you have an employee who works in the widget department 5 days a week, you can not expect him to perform well if you suddenly throw him in the wocket department for a few days instead. That employee will constantly worry that his lack of experience or training will contribute to poor job performance. Fear of poor job performance will lead to stress, which in turn will make the employee dread coming to work each day. Make sure that your employees are qualified for each and every project you assign. If not, make sure you clearly express that you realize there is a lack of training and that the new project will be a closely monitored educational experience.
Face it – as a manger you have a huge impact on the level of stress your employees feel while at work. An uninformed employee will feel a sense of uncertainty which will in turn contribute to a level of stress that makes it difficult to function within the workplace. Make sure you are constantly communicating business changes, project guidelines, and any other important information as soon as possible. Don’t leave your employees in the dark.
There are plenty of other factors that can contribute to stress in the workplace. We’ll go over these and some of the ways to deal with stress in future posts. Until then, take a look at your team members and determine whether or not any of them may be feeling undue stress. Is there anything you can do about it?
Originally published: 17 November, 2008