Running a team, whether it’s large or small, can be a huge source of stress. As well as your normal work, you’ll need to create a positive work environment, model a healthy work-life balance and ensure productivity, especially for those who work remotely. It’s exhausting.
With so much going on, managers must take extra care to ensure that their responsibilities don’t impact their mental and physical health. You may feel fine, but then an issue arises, you overwork, and your stress levels skyrocket beyond a sustainable level.
Ultimately, this type of management can lead to decreased productivity, employee stress, and ultimately, to burnout – a state of mental and emotional exhaustion. Once we hit burnout, we may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms in order to get through the day.
So how can you manage stress for yourself and your employees? We take a look at some practical stress management strategies.
Knowing your boundaries is important for any employee, but it’s vital for leaders who may need to juggle varying demands on a daily basis. Rather than spending time counting hours at work, focus on output. Understand the signs of tiredness and take appropriate breaks throughout the day. Not everyone will have the same capacity, and you may find the amount of work you can manage varies day-to-day.
Signs of Overwork
It’s important to communicate your boundaries with your team. In order to avoid stressful situations and over-committing, be upfront with your capacity. Set your status to “away” on virtual messaging platforms like Teams & Slack and block your calendar for deep work sessions.
If you encourage employees to set realistic expectations when it comes to their own work tasks, you must model this behavior. As a leader, you’ll need to leave some buffer room for unexpected urgent tasks. Rather than taking on too much, leave some of your capacity for the unpredictable.
It can be hard to lean on others, especially if you have high standards that you don’t feel that others will meet. However, effective delegating is vital to reduce stress at work. Delegation allows you to focus on the tasks that you’re best at. It also shows that you trust your employees, preventing turnover that ultimately costs us business.
When you have employees that feel they can get on with their responsibilities, rather than having to run everything by you, it creates a sense of empowerment. Crucially, it also cuts down your workload. You’ll have more time to focus, and will become more efficient as a result, helping you manage the effects of stress at work.
There will always be things that will still need to be run past a manager. However, you might consider other options, such as a peer approval process. This still ensures that work is checked twice – but it doesn’t all fall to one person.
Block out a specific chunk of time each day for any approvals you need to do yourself, so that you’ve got a dedicated time to tackle this task. As much as possible, create consistency around the type of work you need to approve and what doesn’t need your oversight.
Try these critical tips to manage stress in your workplace:
Reducing stress and avoiding burnout is a key part of being a business leader. Not only does it help you, but it also shows your team how to manage their workload too.