Editor's note: This story was updated on August 14, 2018.
When leaders of an organization begin to feel pressure, it's a good indication that their employees already feel the same–if not more, writes Karen Firestone, president and CEO of Aureus Asset Management, for Harvard Business Review.
But providing your team with a supportive and positive environment can help offset some of their stress. Here are five ways Firestone recommends to support your overworked team:
- Provide a sense of stability. A great way to provide employees with a sense of control over their work environment is to provide them with clarity and certainty, writes Firestone. She quotes a renowned psychologist, Frederick Herzberg, who calls these "hygiene factors," and says they are important to providing some degree of job satisfaction for workers. Try to share any relevant information you can about your organization–particularly around compensation, job role, and any major changes to the organization–or employees might starting thinking of the worst-case scenario, Firestone writes.
- Treat employees fairly. Employees who feel that their manager is being unfair often become even more stressed and unhappy, writes Firestone. You can show that you are committed to fairness through small acts like listening to everyone during meetings, spending an equal amount of time with each person, and acknowledging someone who already feels they were treated unfairly.
- Express your gratitude for them. Find ways to make sure your employees feel appreciated, especially when they are staying late and taking on extra work. Don't be more likely to give criticism than praise, writes Firestone. Walk around the office and thank people for work or signs of dedication that sometimes go unnoticed.
- Exemplify self-confidence. Employees feel more assured and confident in their job security when they see their boss display confidence, writes Firestone. "When executives demonstrate their own abilities, it provides an assurance to coworkers that they are under the direction of a 'pack leader' who can protect them," she writes. A feeling of protection helps employees feel more satisfaction and less anxiety.
- Follow up on promises. Workers feel more anxiety when they don't hear back from their boss about a promise they made to them, Firestone writes. It also sets a good example when the person in charge fulfills their commitments, she adds (Firestone, Harvard Business Review, 5/23).
Next, here are 4 ways to be a less-stressed leader
Stress is endemic in today’s health care workforce, but the good news is that leaders have much more control over their stress levels at work than they might think. The most effective leaders take steps to proactively keep their own stress in check—while modeling healthy habits for their teams.
Use this infographic to review effective stress management strategies that can help you become a less-stressed leader.