Let’s face it, the workplace can cause stress. Some stressors are inevitable, however, managers and supervisors can miss opportunities to help minimize and/or prevent stress within their team. Those in leadership are in key position to create a healthy work culture and foster authenticity and clarity instead of anxiety.
So how can managers help to minimize stress and anxiety? Here are six things to consider:
1. Elevate Your Emotional Intelligence
Leading your team with high emotional intelligence will help foster a healthy work environment. Leaders with high EQ are effective communicators, attentive listeners, empathetic, encourage collaboration and address conflict in an assertive manner. These attributes help to bring calm and clarity to employees and help to minimize and/or eliminate the low emotional intelligence actions of some employees (i.e. gossiping, passive-aggression, bullying, complaining, etc.) who can negatively influence the team. The soft skills of emotional intelligence has a trickle down affect that can create a healthy boundary against potential toxicity.
2. Don’t Waste Employee Time
One stressor that many employees feel is not having the amount of time needed to get work done due to unnecessary meetings or poor communication around expectations. Make sure when planning meetings there’s a clear agenda and that the time away from their desks is worth it. If what you have to communicate can be sent in an email or a quick conversation, opt for either of those instead. Also, provide realistic deadlines and clear communication on what is needed to help decrease anxiety and stress around projects.
3. Be Flexible
As an employer and manager, be mindful that you have people, not robots, who work for you. Employees have lives outside of work that can affect their mental health and therefore impacts their performance and productivity. Offer flex-time for the individuals that may need it. This can be for parents with a newborn, those with aging parents who need assistance, or a personal heath issue. Do not forget to consider those who are experiencing grief and loss. There’s a misconception that if you allow employees to work from home or have shorter in-office work hours, that they will be less productive. Contrary to that belief, research has shown that employees productivity actually improves, along with an increased sense of gratitude and appreciation towards the employer.
4. Keep Communication During Work Hours
Try your best to not send emails outside of work hours (i.e. middle of the night/weekends). These after work communications can increase your employees’ anxiety even if you state that you are not expecting them to respond. Many employees will feel obligated to reply upon receipt and may follow suit of sending and checking email during their personal time. If you do feel the need to write an email but it is not time sensitive, choose to compose and save the draft to be sent later. There are some emails that you can even schedule when they can be sent out. Worst case scenario, make sure your disclaimer is clear and genuine to the recipient that a reply isn’t needed immediately.
5. Create Belonging
Nothing sucks more than spending most of your day some place where you feel you do not matter. Employees want to feel seen and heard. Leaders can help build rapport and healthy employee relationships by how they communicate and encourage team building. When an employee feels that they are part of a team and that their voice matters, they will feel safer to express when something isn’t going right personally or professionally and are quicker to resolve a problem with their boss or leader than to leave the organization due to feelings of rejection and ‘not mattering’.
6. Stop Micro-managing
Whether it is crossing physical boundaries like hovering over your employee, or electronic boundaries such as serial emails and calls, micro-managing hurts both you and your employee. It robs the both of you of productive time and it insinuates that you do not trust their capabilities. Why hire them if you do not feel they are competent? Micro-managing can have a once confident employee now feeling anxious and riddled with self-doubt which leaves you receiving less than their best. Realize that micro-managing has less to do with your employee’s abilities and more to do with your insecurities.
Some people thrive under stress while others can buckle under the weight of it. Choosing ways to not overwhelm your employees gives them space to do their jobs well and minimize absenteeism. An example is an employee who operates at a lower level after returning from short-term disability due to stress-induced mental health issue. Being intentional in creating a stressless environment and addressing the mental health of your employees will create a win/win situation for everyone.
Farah is a psychotherapist and workplace wellness champion who guides individuals and organizations in decreasing symptoms of stress and burnout, elevating their emotional intelligence quotient while improving morale by implementing strategies to create healthier and equitable work culture. To hire Farah as a consultant or to speak at your next event, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.