Nobody is immune to stress– it’s a part of everyday life and is experienced by everyone in various ways and to varying degrees. You face stress at work, with your loved ones, within yourself, and from environmental factors like pandemics and wars.
The ways in which individuals respond to stress, however, differs greatly.
While it’s true that some people manage stress more easily than others, the reality is everyone can benefit from trusting, understanding, supportive leaders who help make the trying times a little less trying.
Use the tips below to provide the kind of leadership your team needs to successfully and healthily deal with life’s unavoidable unpleasantries.
Check in regularly
Whether you’re busy putting out work fires or dealing with personal problems, it’s important to make time to listen to and understand your employees’, colleagues’, or mentees’ stressors as well. Pay attention to their moods rather than just their work performance and productivity.
Check in with the individuals you manage as well as the team as a whole. Schedule one-on-one and team meetings, encourage frequent and open communication, and give your team opportunities to voice their worries and concerns. Simply listen to what they have to say, and resist offering any advice (unless they ask!).
Recognize the situation
Pretending everything is fine or avoiding it doesn’t help anyone. If something is bothering someone on your team, acknowledge that their troubles are real even if you feel that their response is an overreaction. Remember that everyone has a story you don’t know.
Practice empathy. Show kindness and compassion. Recognize their feelings without increasing their stress and anxiety levels.
Think about a time when you had so much going on that you had a difficult time focusing on anything else or fully meeting your responsibilities. Now use that to fuel your desire to provide the kind of leadership you needed during that time.
Where possible, allow individuals flexibility to deal with their situation. That might mean time off, adjusting their schedule, or lightening their workload.
Show understanding and make them feel valued.
Admit your flaws
As it turns out, you’re human and as susceptible to stress as everyone else. Rather than try to hide your imperfections, share them with your team to show it’s okay for them to do the same.
Don’t say you’re okay when you’re not or act as though nothing is wrong. While you don’t have to sugarcoat your stressors or paint them in a falsely positive light, avoid excessive negativity which can increase your teams’ stress and anxiety. It is necessary to find healthy ways to manage and contain your emotions.
Take care of yourself
Practicing self-care is always important but is especially crucial in times of stress and uncertainty.
Do all the things you should be doing to take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Exercise regularly. Eat healthily. Meditate. Journal. Stay connected with loved ones. Do things you enjoy.
Check out additional stress-related resources and information from Better Help here: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/stress/.
As a leader, you set the stage for how your team responds to stress, change, and uncertainty. Take positive steps to help maintain a healthy, positive work environment to minimize the negative effects of events and circumstances life throws our way.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.