Stressed? You’re not alone. 21% of Australians have taken time off in the last 12 months because of stress and anxiety.
If you’re a manager, your stress can affect your whole team, not just you. Excessive stress in the workplace can damage your mental health and affect your relationships outside of work.
Fortunately, there are plenty of coping mechanisms and strategies you can use to manage stress and enjoy your work again.
The Impact of a Stressed Manager
Just like the common cold, stress is contagious. If one person in the office feels stressed, they often pass it on to others around them and soon everyone feels emotionally exhausted.
You may have noticed it at work or home. When you are under stress, you’re more likely to snap at people. For some employees, your response doesn’t worry them, but for others they may feel hurt or worried.
When you’re stressed, it’s likely you aren’t working to your full potential. Stress can be too much for the brain to cope with so it shuts down to protect itself. Your team may start to underperform and they might be reluctant to approach you with questions.
Stress and long working long hours can lead to expensive mistakes. If your mind isn’t fully on the task at hand because it’s mulling over a problem, errors can occur, fuelling more stress and anxiety.
As well as causing mental health problems, stress also puts your physical health at risk. As a manager, taking frequent sick days can affect your team. Other team members might have to take on extra work due to your absence and may start feeling overworked themselves.
How to Manage Your Stress
Soldiering on when you’re stressed isn’t the answer. Find a solution that works for you and start reducing your stress levels today. This will not only benefit you, but your team.
Go for a Walk
Taking a walk outside for even a few minutes can help clear your head and allow it to reset. When you remove yourself from a stressful situation, you can think it through and give yourself a chance to decide what to do next to relieve the stress.
Improve your Relationships with Staff
The stronger the relationship you have with your team, the less stressed you will feel. A study of 3,000 Norwegian managers found that managers who had a positive relationship with their employees suffered less dangerous stress at work.
A good relationship makes employees more likely to act positively and have greater confidence in their manager. They understand their manager’s challenges and want to help them solve problems.
If there are parts of your job you don’t enjoy and increase your stress levels, give them away. Be honest and admit you can’t be the best at every single task. You hired clever people, so share the workload if you can.
If you don’t have the skills in-house, consider employing a new employee or outsource the task to another organisation with specialist skills in that area.
Develop your Skills
Managers are expected to handle a wide range of tasks but often they’ve had no experience or training in some areas of their role. They may have risen through the ranks of the organisation and been amazing at one job but had never had to deal with managing people and the issues that brings.
A lack of confidence can be a major source of stress. It often leads to procrastination over hard tasks which only adds to the stress levels.
For managers, a heavy workload can also cause stress. Learn how to time block to complete similar tasks together - this can help with productivity and reduce stress.
If gaps in your skill set are causing you anxiety and stress, ask for training to improve those skills. You could even ask a more experienced manager to be your mentor so you have someone to help you navigate through difficult parts of the job. A problem shared is a problem halved!
Make the Changes
It’s not healthy for you, your staff or the organisation to continue being stressed. Spend time away from the office, thinking rationally about how you can change your situation.
Do you need more resources, better training, a mentor? Once you have your solution mapped out, see your manager (if you have one) to discuss the options. If you’re the owner of the business, decide on a solution that works for you and take steps to put it in place.
If you are suffering from stress and need some personalised strategies to help deal with the stress, contact a qualified psychologist at PeopleSense by Altius If you are in a managerial position you can access the Manager Assistance Program as part of your PeopleSense by Altius EAP offering. Contact us on 1300 307 912 or (08) 9388 9000, or contact us online.