10 tips for managers to reduce organisational stress

Stress
can prove a major headache for firms, leading to misunderstandings and getting
in the way of productivity. Dr Rosemary Anderson, chair of  International Stress Management Association
UK gives some advice on how to cut stress at work

1.
Adopt the attitude that stress is not a weakness, and develop this culture
within your department.

Nobody’s
perfect, we all have too much pressure from time to time, and stress can affect
anyone given an accumulation of circumstances. Foster the mindset that it isn’t
a weakness to seek help if you are not coping – it’s a strength to admit it and
do something about it. Promote this as a developmental issue. Handling stress
is a proactive intervention to prevent ill health in your employees and your
organisation.

2.
Ensure you are not suffering from stress yourself.

A
stressed manager has a ‘knock-on effect’ throughout the organisation. Dealing
with your own stress will prevent your staff from suffering, and results in a
more relaxed and productive atmosphere.

3.
Analyse your management style and behaviour.

Ask
yourself (honestly) if this is causing any stress. Good management is the best
proactive way of reducing organisational stress. A good manager:


Ensures a realistic understanding of the workload and time it should take


Sets individual work objectives and targets, and consults and discusses before
setting these


Gives clear, effective instructions


Makes sure he/she defines roles and tasks adequately – and discusses priorities


In times of high workload, prepares employees ahead


Varies work where possible, and provides opportunities for individuals to
influence the way they do their jobs


Delegates effectively, and not just the boring bits


Ensures staff have adequate training to do a good job, or coaches where
training is not possible


Gives fast feedback (both positive and negative), and constructive criticism
where necessary


Is approachable. Admits to weaknesses and takes responsibility for own mistakes

Which
of these could you improve upon?

4.
Ensure the working environment is suitable

They
should make sure that there is not too much noise or overcrowding, for example.

A
poor working environment can cause employees a great deal of stress. While this
is sometimes impossible to change completely, many small things can be done to
improve the situation.

5.
Help your staff to cope with change – no matter how big or how small.

Before
introducing a change, listen to the views of your staff. How will it be for
them?

Where
possible, update employees on any changes taking place, and explain the reasons
for them.

Identify
those who resist change and help them to accept it. Listen to doubts and fears;
explain, coach, boost self-esteem. Check how things are progressing during and
after change.

6.
Improve communication.

Where
possible, keep employees informed of all changes and major decisions. Listen to
your staff and hear what they are saying.

Talk
to your staff informally and regularly. It will be easier for them to come to
you or for you to approach them if there’s a problem.

Observe
your staff –you’ll learn a lot from watching.

7.
Think of yourself in your employees’ shoes.

What
causes your staff stress may be healthy pressure to you, so do not belittle it.
Just because it isn’t a problem for you does not mean it isn’t a problem for
them. Remember, they might cope easily with issues that cause you stress.

8.
Do regular, informal risk assessments of your staff to check nobody is
subjected to work-related stress.

9.
Encourage your staff to attend a personal stress management course or provide
them with tips to help themselves.

10.
Create an overall environment that promotes wellbeing.

Remember
that relaxed and happy employees will work more effectively, thus increasing
their own, and the organisation’s performance and productivity.

For
more information, visit www.isma.org.uk

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