The best way to reduce workplace stress as a manager is to have a good working relationship with employees. That just one of the findings from a recent study by Professors Astrid M. Richardsen and Stig Berge Matthiesen at the BI Norwegian Business School in which four key stress factors were investigated: Time pressures and workload, emotional strain, role stress at work (role conflict between demands from top management and from employees), and role conflict between work and private life.
“Although a clear majority of the managers experience time pressure at work, there are relatively few who have role stress at work, or a role conflict between work and private life,” the researchers said.
To help managers handle workplace stress, Richardsen and Matthiesen suggest 10 strategies.
1. Find out what is creating the stress: Identify the sources of work stress. Knowledge makes it easier to implement stress management measures.
2. More knowledge about stress: Increase the general knowledge of the nature of stress. How do various conditions for stress interact? What can be done about it?
3. Have a healthy lifestyle: Make sure you have sufficient rest and sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet. A healthy mind in a healthy body. There are good reasons why so many managers are keen on their exercise.
4. Learn to rest and relax: Practice the skill of stressing down or relaxing. Muscle relaxation, meditation, and tools that tell you whether your body really is relaxing may help.
5. Manage your time more efficiently: Learn to prioritize work tasks better. Identify the time thieves, and try to get rid of them.
6. Increase your employees’ skills: By increasing the skills of your employees, you yourself will have less stress. You will feel more confident that the jobs you delegate will be done.
7. Establish relationships for support: Do you have someone to ask for help and support when you need it? Is there anyone you can go to with your joys and sorrows? Social support in everyday life is important for managers, too.
8. Plan your career: For managers as for others, a job or work commitment may have a “best before” date. Remaining too long in a job may lead to unnecessary stress or strain.
9. Switch jobs in time: Make the switch while you still have good control of the job and its related stress.
10. Seek outside, professional help if the job becomes too much of a strain: Major work stress can have serious consequences, both for the person suffering it and for his/her surroundings.