Anyone that is responsible for managing people at work knows a thing or two about stress. Not only are they responsible for taking care of their own tasks and dealing with pressure from higher-ups, but they are responsible for the performance of a group of people whose actions they can’t really control. The knee-jerk reaction of a lot of managers is to pass along the pressure they feel to their employees, but this doesn’t do anything to improve morale, production, or quality of work. The best thing a manager can do is learn to reduce stress for their employees, which will in turn reduce stress for them.
Give and receive feedback. One huge source of stress for employees is uncertainty. In today’s economy, job security is a joke, and everyone can feel it. Give employees honest but constructive feedback and allow them to do the same for you. Keeping the lines of communication open will make employees feel comfortable about where they stand and they will be able to focus their energy on completing projects rather than worrying about getting laid off or fired.
Learn about each position. As a manager, it’s valuable to understand the complexities of each position that you oversee. The more you know about the day-to-day duties of each employee and what their struggles and frustrations are, the better you will be able to mitigate their stress, allowing them to focus on doing their job right, which will make your job a lot easier.
Encourage talking. It seems counter-intuitive because if employees are talking, they definitely aren’t working. But talking and building relationships reduces stress and builds camaraderie. If your employees feel comfortable talking and working together, they will be more likely to help each other in a pinch and pitch in for the good of the group.
Relinquish control. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. But for managers, it’s hard to trust that people who don’t do things the way you think they should be done will do them right. It’s so important that managers learn to let go of some control and allow their employees to complete their required tasks in their own way. As long as they get their work done right and in a timely fashion, there’s no need to stress yourself out about their method. Allowing employees to manage themselves somewhat will give them the breathing room they need to excel at their job and it will give you one less item to worry about.
Develop careers. Encouraging employees to pursue a career path will give them a sense of fulfilling purpose in their work. Anything you can do to encourage and facilitate the development of their career will benefit them by providing motivation to do well and benefit you when they take pride in their work.
Reward good behavior. Not everybody needs to help sick people or teach children to feel fulfilled, but everyone needs to feel appreciated for their hard work. A simple “thank you”, a note, or an email to the VP about a job well done is all it takes to keep employees from resenting their jobs, which will make your job as a manager much more pleasant.