LeadersEdge blog
Insights for Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders
Stress Management Tips for Leaders
July 10, 2023

In our previous blog, we provided some additional insights, best practices, and approaches to drive up employee engagement and reduce unnecessary stress for your most valuable resource – your people.  There are endless amounts of articles and data that have confirmed the more engaged, satisfied and connected your people feel to the organization, the less stress they will feel as a result. In addition to this connection, the relationship that employees they have with their direct manager will account for the majority of their job satisfaction.

This week, we are going to explore how leaders can help their people better manage workplace stress and feel more engaged and effective in their respective roles. According to an April 2023 Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, a whooping 21.2% of the 4.1 million people polled experienced high levels of work-related stress – the common cause was heavy workload. Additionally, those aged 25-54 in management positions indicated higher levels of stress as well.

Stress is obviously still a factor in the workplace, and it’s something that will never go away. The key to remember in dealing with employee stress is that stress affects everyone differently. 

Common Causes of Stress in the Workplace 

The most common causes of stress in the work environment include:

  • Employees are asked to do things that exceed their capability and are not provided with the required support or training to bridge the gap.
  • Consistent pattern of a heavy and unrealistic workload and having too many responsibilities to manage.
  • Being asked to work long hours on a regular basis, unrealistic deadlines, or expectations.
  • Experiencing ongoing changes within the organisation and changes to job duties.
  • Lack of autonomy and freedom to do really good work.
  • Poor communication of expectations, goals and objectives and lack of feedback.
  • Limited opportunity for growth or advancement.

As a leader, you have a direct influence in managing the majority of these causes, so let’s explore how you can help prevent or better manage stress in the workplace.

Align People with Right Roles & Job Duties

We are raving fans of the strength-based leadership philosophy, and the same logic applies to your people. When individuals are put in roles that play to their strengths, they will perform more effectively and be more apt to enjoy their job because it feels like a natural fit.

Establish Clear & Realistic Expectations

This is one that I hear about a lot in my practice. Leaders who are not specific or clear enough about their expectations leave their people to guess or make assumptions about what is expected. How can they be productive and contribute fully when they are constantly confused?

Partner with your people on what success looks like, give them the necessary tools and training to do their jobs effectively, and be there to support them if they have questions or run into challenges or roadblocks.  

Set SMART Goals

To build on the notion of setting clear expectations, get specific by setting SMART goals and objectives – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. 

When we establish SMART goals, we are looking at opportunities holistically, using the what, why, where, when, how, and who to achieve the desired outcome. SMART goals will set your people up for success not failure.  

Working Hours & Workload Management

When we step into leadership, the expectations change and so does the workload. Leadership comes with more responsibility and the ongoing highs and lows of workload and working hours. There are also an array of roles that are not your typical 9-to-5 jobs, so be clear with your people about establishing a realistic schedule and workload that sets them up for success not burnout.

Have you established an effective structure for working hours, whether employees are onsite or working remotely? And are you cognizant to ensure if you are contacting them after hours, you don’t expect them to respond until they are at work? Life is all about compromise, so work out a schedule that provides the flexibility your people need without compromising what the business requires too.

1-on-1s & Regular Check-Ins

Are you carving out time for each of your employees to talk to them about how they are doing and feeling? Are there any challenges or opportunities that they require your help with? Are you offering them ongoing feedback and talking through their workload to ensure they are set up for success? Have you partnered with them on establishing expectations and SMART goals? Perhaps they need your help prioritizing their to-do list based on what is most important to the organization.  

Don’t leave things to chance! Be proactive and help your people by carving out private 1:1 time based on what will work best for them and their needs. It is also a great opportunity to talk about their future career goals and objectives and help them move their careers forward within the organization.  

Get Personalized Insights For Better Results

We are just scratching the surface with approaches and best practices to help diffuse stress and drive-up overall engagement and job satisfaction. What are your thoughts on employee wellbeing and stress management? What are some additional approaches or best practices that are working for you and your organization? 

If you need help sorting out the best way to handle stress management across your workplace, reach out today. 

You can email me at joanne.trotta@leadersedgeinc.ca or call me at 1.416.560.1806. 

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