It's common knowledge that managers provide a leadership role for their organization. In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations, they are expected to foster a positive culture where employees don't feel overwhelmed, which can lead to burnout. These responsibilities are challenging enough under normal circumstances, but when tension is high and employees feel stressed, the task can be daunting.
Many factors can cause a work stress, such as a change or increase in responsibilities, job insecurity, heavy workload, and long hours. External, non-work-related elements can also negatively impact an employee's attitude as well as productivity. Relationship and family issues, health concerns and debt or money worries can be overwhelming and difficult to leave outside the workplace.
There really is no way a manager can know what is going on in every employee's life, but there are efforts they can take to help mitigate stress and maintain a positive work culture.
Know what to look for.
It's important for managers to understand the signs of stress to identify employees who are struggling with it. Recognizing the signs of anxiety early on gives managers the opportunity to help a stressed employee before things become unmanageable. Some signs of stress and anxiety include:
•Withdrawal and Isolation
•Irritability and becoming angry with others quickly
•Lack of motivation or interest
•Poor hygiene or decline in physical appearance
•Loss of compassion or empathy
Open the lines of
A good manager checks in with employees often to make sure they have the resources they need and feel supported in their role. Setting up informal, one-on-one meetings opens the door for employees who are reluctant to ask for help and provides a safe environment to discuss any challenges they are facing. It also gives managers the opportunity to look for the subtle signs of stress or anxiety they might not notice in general interactions.
Encourage them to ask for
Many employees fear that they will be passed over for promotions or given fewer responsibilities if they ask for help or express feeling overwhelmed. These beliefs only increase anxiety that contributes to a negative work environment. Managers should make it clear that if an employee's workload is too heavy or a project is too challenging, there are resources available to help them. When an employee does ask for assistance, involve them in finding a solution. This makes it less likely they'll feel like they let you or the team down, and it demonstrates you value their input.
Check their schedules.
An imbalance of work life and home life is not only difficult for employees to manage, it can also impair their ability to effectively perform their job. Offering flexible scheduling options helps ensure employees can tend to family and personal matters. If certain work hours are mandatory, post schedules out in advance, and give employees online access to their schedules. This helps them and their families plan future events such as vacations and family time.
Lead by example
To help reduce stress and maintain a positive work culture, it is important that managers pay attention to their own actions. If they take on too many projects, work long hours with little work/life balance, or never ask for help, employees are likely to do the same. Additionally, an exhausted, overwhelmed, or stressed manager doesn't project positivity, and only contributes to employees' stress levels.
Managers play a critical role in helping employees cope with pressure, as well as establishing a positive culture. Learn how providing managers and employees with tools such as employee scheduling software improves communication, helps promote a healthy work/life balance, and positively impacts the overall work environment.