As a business leader, why do you care whether or not your team members feel stressed? Well, because employees who aren’t stressed are healthy, focused, and energetic; and, because happy employees create happy clients, which in turn helps your business thrive.
Of course, work is always going to have an element of stress to it, but there are steps you can take to make your team environment one in which stress is dealt with in a healthy and effective way.
Make sure the goals are clearly stated. One way to help your employees feel focused, rather than overwhelmed, is to get everyone on the same page about what your team is trying to accomplish. Don’t let there be any uncertainty or aimlessness with regard to what people need to accomplish. At the start of the year, sit down with everyone to outline three to five major strategic goals for the year, and periodically huddle together to discuss progress toward these goals.
Clearly define responsibilities. Team environments where everyone wears a lot of hats, and where people’s roles don’t have much definition to them, can sometimes lead to anxiety: People either don’t know exactly what they need to be doing, or they worry that others aren’t doing their part. Make sure that all of your team members understand their role and how it fits into those big, strategic goals.
Offer flexibility. Your team members have a lot of stuff to juggle—not just at work, but at home. That can be overwhelming, but a willingness to work with your team members and to allow them some flexibility to go pick up their kids from school, for instance, can help alleviate some of that burden.
Discourage multitasking. It’s only natural to feel stressed when you’re trying to do several things at the same time. To discourage multitasking, you may have to lead by example a bit, but you can also establish policies that discourage people from dividing their attention. For example, ask your team members to refrain from bringing their phones into meetings; let them simply focus on what’s being said.
A final thought: To create a low-stress work environment, you’re going to have to have healthy stress management principles in your own life.
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