How leaders can reduce employee stress

Consider these approaches to support employees and increase team resilience and efficiency. By Priya Prakasan

People are burning out faster and harder than ever before, making stress management a key part of a leaders role. So how can leaders combat stress, anxiety, burnout, and disengagement? Here are some strategies that can help.

1. Create a culture of mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness helps strengthen mental resilience and creates habits that help deal with stress and anxiety. Encourage mindfulness in your team by kickstarting a leadership program that provides mindfulness tools to help employees deal with stress more effectively. Exercises like this will help rejuvenate minds and train brains to sustain higher performance. As a leader, place a priority on wellness and encourage activities that help employees recharge and find a balance at work.

2. Set their priorities right
There is often a disconnect between what the role demands and what the employees think their role is. This is where a leader steps in to set priorities right. What is your team’s main focus? Do they know it without a shadow of a doubt? What is their unique contribution to the organisation? Discuss this in detail with your team so that they find their common purpose. They can then use this information to prioritise their work, understand what they should let go of, and what they should be spending time on, so that they don’t cause unnecessary stress for themselves.

3. Promote well-being practices
Another strategy is to plan and prioritise activities at the workplace that boost mental wellbeing. Encourage employees to follow through and participate yourself, so that you lead by example. These activities could be as simple as walking meetings, setting time limits to meetings, team bonding exercises, mindfulness sessions, or scheduling short breaks during the day to get a period of rest and clear heads.

4. Instil useful mental habits
Another way to make the work environment as stress-free as possible is to train the brain to manage stressful situations. It’s all about self-regulation. If you constantly feel stressed out by the chaotic life, acknowledge the negative emotions and then get through it by taking control of your internal communication. Emphasise the need to get a handle on the negative self-talk with your team. Once people are conscious of this they will find it easier to manage their emotions and control stress more effectively.

5. Forget multi-tasking
Research has shown that multi-tasking is a myth. You aren’t being more productive by doing multiple tasks simultaneously. You take more time to get the tasks done, there’s a likelihood of increased errors and it can cause stress. Rather, emphasise the benefits of monotasking to your team. Help them get their priorities right, create a roadmap that lists out the various milestones and build in some buffer time so that your team isn’t racing at breakneck speed to the finish line.

6. Stop micromanaging
Working with a micromanaging leader can make the office a very stressful place. There’s a lack of freedom that tells team members their leader doesn’t trust them, not even enough to do their job well. This leads to a toxic work environment. To avoid this, do your best to avoid micromanaging. Empower your team to make decisions, implement strategies, and execute the tasks you have assigned them. Don’t hamstring their workflow by constantly looking over their shoulder and asking them to run everything by you. But be around to provide guidance should they reach out and ask for updates at significant milestones.

Photopraph: Luis_molinero/ 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


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