How can you as a leader or manager help your employees reduce and control the level of stress they experience?
Here are four actions you can take:
- Gain an understanding of the stress process.
- Create a culture and environment in which the discussion of mental health issues such as stress is encouraged.
- Remove stressors from the work environment or change the work environment so that situations, people, things are no longer perceived as threats.
- Help individuals to develop the skills necessary to reduce and control the level of stress they experience.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these recommended actions:
|1||Learn about the stress process.|
|“Knowledge is power” ~ Sir Francis Bacon (1597)|
|Understanding how we ‘do’ stress will help you as a leader/manager to:|
|a)||understand and recognise stress in yourself and others.|
|b)||promote wellbeing at work and improve your skills and confidence in dealing with employee stress. You will to need to gain an understanding of your organisation’s policies, processes, wellbeing resources and how to provide basic emotional support.|
|c)||identify the ‘stressors’ in the work environment. A ‘stressor’ is an event, person, thing that is perceived by the majority of people to be a threat to their physical and/or emotional well-being. Work related stressors include: long working hours, intense demands, difficult bosses/co-workers and poor/dangerous working conditions
One way to identify work-related stressors is to survey your employees. Simply ask them what they believe is causing them to experience stress.
|d)||spot the signs of stress in your staff and provide emotional support. Look in particular for changes in a person’s mood or behaviour, such as deteriorating relationships with colleagues, irritability, indecisiveness, absenteeism or reduced performance. An increase in use of holiday and/or sick leave can be a sign that an individual is stressed.|
|Click here to read my E-zine article The STRESS Process – How We Create Anxiety and Stress|
|2.||Create a culture and environment in which the discussion of mental health issues such as stress is encouraged|
|a)||Research suggests that around half (48%) of people suffering from mental health conditions such as anxiety and stress feel too uncomfortable to talk to their employer about their experience.
So as an employer it’s important to create a safe and comfortable environment in which awareness of mental health issues such as anxiety and stress is raised, discussed and conversations about these issues, between individuals and their manager, or a member of the human resources team, is encouraged.
|b)||In order to successfully create and implement a culture of wellbeing and engagement within your organisation, every leader/manager must be recruited as a champion and ambassador. It’s important that individuals across the organisation see that their leaders and managers believe in, and ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to, stress management. For example leaders and managers must demonstrate a commitment to activities that help reduce stress e.g. by not working excessive hours, by taking breaks, by being physically active.|
|c)||Encourage wellbeing – whether you encourage employees to go for a walk at lunchtime, provide healthy food alternatives or encourage wellbeing activities such as mindfulness, they are each a positive step towards improving mental health in the workplace.|
|3.||Remove stressors from the environment or change the environment so that situations, people, things are no longer perceived as threats|
|When it comes to stress, prevention is much better than cure. Here are some suggestions (provided by the UK’s Health & Safety Executive) for how to address six key work related stressors:|
|b)||Lack of autonomy.
|c)||Lack of support.
|d)||Unacceptable behaviours, e.g. bullying at work.
|e)||Unclear roles and responsibilities.
|4.||Help your employees to develop the skills necessary to reduce and control the level of stress they experience|
|a)||Train your employees so they have the skills to recognise the signs, symptoms, causes and effects of stress.|
|b)||Provide employees with the opportunity to enhance these skills and capabilities:
|c)||Raise awareness of your organisation’s policies and procedures in relation to stress|
|d)||Provide employees with resilience training so they are better able to cope with and overcome the stress they are experiencing|
|e)||Provide employees with support services such as access to employee assistance programmes, coaches, counsellors that are:
These services must be effectively communicated to all employees and managers should actively promote the use of such services. Services could include:
Helping people to reduce stress and gain control over their stress level is my passion. If you’d like to explore how I can help you or your employees to become calmer, more productive and healthier, let’s have a chat. Contact me now on 021 056 8389 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you a relaxed, stress less, Easter weekend.
Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony’s particular area of expertise is in helping people perform under pressure and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
Contact Tony today to discuss how he can help you, or if you think Tony could help someone you know, you might like to encourage them to get in touch with him.