According to the American Psychological Association (APA), leaders are constantly under strain, and COVID-19 has added to the pressures they experience. Manager stress stems from the manager juggling extra demands on their time, attention, and commitment, whether in industry, non-profits, or government. Good managers learn to handle stress when making judgments and inspiring others, but even the most effective managers may get emotionally and physically exhausted during the pandemic.
Managers who exhibit healthy stress management and self-care send a message to others that it's okay to do the same. As a result, an organization or community grows healthier and better prepared to deal with difficult conditions and future disasters. We're going to walk a mile today in shoes you wouldn't ordinarily wear to work. Have you ever considered what it's like to be a manager? The word itself evokes a negative view. According to 76 percent of job searchers, their employer is "poison," and 58 percent of employees trust a random person more than their manager. However, these figures leave out an essential aspect of the story: the managers' perspective. Manager stress is also quite prevalent and should also be taken into consideration.
Team ZenBusiness polled approximately 1,000 people in the United States who were currently employed, that its, a good mix of managers and their subordinates. They did this to assess how well they communicate with one another. They compared managers' reported stresses and stress levels to their employees' assessments, and the results were surprising.
The poll reviewed that employees do not know the amount of stress their managers experience.
Common Stress Faced by Managers
Dr. Karl Albrecht, a stress management expert, describes the four major forms of stress managers encounter, depending on the fundamental reason, in his book "Stress and the Manager."
4 Common Types of Manager Stress
1. Time stress
This occurs when you are concerned about the passage of time. Deadlines, priorities, being late for meetings, and a slew of other tasks you must complete yet never have enough time to do.
" Don't waste your time living someone else's life since you have a limited amount of time. Don't get caught up in dogma, which is living with the outcomes of other people's reasoning. Allowing the loudness of other people's ideas to drown out your own inner voice is a mistake. Above all, have the courage to listen to your heart and instincts. They seem to have a premonition of who you wish to be. Everything else is just a bonus." — Steve Jobs, Apple's founder
Managers must manage their time effectively, and productivity tools like Trello (a Kanban board app) and the Eisenhower matrix (urgent – important) can help them do so.
2. Anticipatory stress
This refers to anxiety over upcoming events, such as a board meeting or a public speech. It's a fear that "something bad will happen."
3. Situational stress
This occurs when you are confronted with a frightening scenario over which you have no control. This could be a situation involving a disagreement with someone, an emergency, or a loss of status among your teammates due to a major blunder. Personal awareness and competent conflict facilitation are essential for handling this form of stress.
4. People-related encounter stress
This occurs when you are concerned about engaging with a certain person or group of people you may dislike or believe are unpredictable. It can also happen if you have a lot of encounters with people who are under a lot of stress because they are sick or upset. I recommend that you begin exercising emotional intelligence to manage this type of stress because the capacity to detect people's emotions, needs, and personalities improves interactions with them and fosters better connections.
Is management worth the stress???
According to the poll by Team ZenBusiness, managers equally split the rewards and stress of being a manager.
Stress management for Managers
Everyone, in theory, is stressed, but managers are subjected to a disproportionate quantity of it. Managing a team of developers, consultants, salespeople, and so on requires a strong concentration, faultless execution, working under tight deadlines, delegating accountability, and regularly dealing with situations beyond your control.
Stress has become a serious concern for many workers and their managers in today's fast-paced and demanding work environment. Managers can use various techniques to control stress and deal with problems as they emerge. These basic tactics will help you develop habits to help you deal with stressful situations at work. The disadvantages of extreme stress range from mental health symptoms such as increased worry and sadness to physical ones such as high blood pressure and heart disease; therefore, managers need to find ways of relieving stress to avoid such dangers.
1. Recognize the sources of your stress
One of the first keys to successful stress management, according to Mayo Clinic, is identifying the triggers that cause the greatest stress in your life. Pay attention to how your stress level changes during the day. Are there times when you're irritated, impatient, eager, worried, or tense? If this is the case, make a note of it and try to figure out what's causing your feelings. If you realize that particular people or situations make you feel more stressed than others, try to avoid them or develop different strategies to deal with them.
2. Define performance expectations, communicate effectively with your team
Your team looks to you as a leader to lay out each member's responsibilities. Employees are less prone to become uncomfortable when they understand what they need to do to meet their position criteria. When team members are confident in their duties, clear communication between them will reflect their work.
3. Prioritize tasks and assign them to the appropriate people
Organizing your employees' daily or monthly goals can help you manage them more effectively. Employees have a higher chance of finishing their work on time when they know where they stand or what is expected. When managers understand the strengths and skills of their people, balancing tasks becomes a breeze.
4. Be conscious of time management
Having faith in employees' ability to operate efficiently is one of the essential stress relievers. One of the most valuable assets in the job is time management. When an employee is given enough time to complete their work, it reflects in the work they do.
5. Visualize daily goals and make plans to achieve them.
It's critical to set priorities for your department when it comes to mastering the day ahead. Identifying what needs to be done as a manager is a valuable and effective approach to balance out team responsibilities. When everyone can see their particular objectives or goals, they are more motivated to fulfill them.
6. Encourage frequent pauses to boost productivity and well-being
When people are operating on fumes, they cannot produce quality output or reach their performance goals. Please pay attention to how your staff performs better when they are given opportunities to take breaks during the day. They will be more productive, happier, less stressed, and more motivated to fulfill their work most of the time.
7. Use affirmations
Affirmations are a type of positive thinking that can help you overcome the negative ideas that plague so many of us. When we have these thoughts, our confidence, mood, and outlook go downhill, and we convince ourselves that we aren't good enough. We can help ourselves and our teammates by doing the reverse, by utilizing positive affirmations. You are one step closer to establishing a stress-free atmosphere by using the power of affirmation, positive thinking, and thankfulness.
8. Allow yourself to let go of your drive for perfection
It is your obligation as a manager to ensure that everything runs smoothly. It's easy to aim for perfection when you're constantly pushing for excellence, yet striving for perfection might be detrimental.
Perfectionism produces an "all or nothing" mentality, in which anything less than perfect and error-free is considered unacceptable. Nothing in this world is flawless. Set more fair expectations for yourself and your team to refocus your priorities.
9. Look for stress-relieving activities
When faced with a stressful circumstance, turn to specific activities that can help you relax. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to stress relief; however, some activities have more research behind them as helpful stress management strategies. Mindfulness meditation, for example, can help you clear your thoughts and feel more peaceful. Physical activity, music, and deep breathing are also popular options.
10. Keep lines of communication open
Define roles and expectations clearly, since this will assist in reducing workplace stress and ensuring that everyone is performing their allocated tasks. Make time to meet with your staff one-on-one at least twice a week to go over project and performance requirements and listen to any problems they may have. If employees are dissatisfied with their jobs or experiences, work with them to develop a set of suggestions that will assist them to improve their situation. Employees often want to know that their opinions are valued and that they are heard.
11. Acknowledge success on a regular basis
Employees' feelings of underappreciation are a key source of stress thus emphasizing accomplishments regularly can help alleviate this. It's easy to get caught up with deliverables, so take some time once projects are over to get down with team members and thank them for their efforts. Don't be afraid to tell the rest of the organization about your team's accomplishments. This increases the employee's visibility while demonstrating managerial efficacy to the rest of the team.
12. Socialize with your coworkers
Even in a huge team, an individual can feel alienated. Learn about your employees and become truly interested in their goals rather than just their deliverables. Hold office-wide competitions, activities, or group outings to increase morale in the workplace. A monthly dinner, happy hour, or group exercise class will allow your employees to show their human side to you and their coworkers, bringing them closer to your team. You can nurture a healthier team by taking the initiative to create an open, healthy, and communicative workplace.
13. Establishing boundaries
Boundaries are the rules we make for ourselves on an internal level. They spell down what behaviors we will and will not tolerate, as well as how much time and space we require from others and what our priorities are. When we have healthy boundaries, we respect ourselves and take very good care of our well-being by communicating them to others explicitly. A stress-free life necessitates healthy limits.
14. Cognitive Restructuring
Dr. Albert Ellis, a psychologist, developed cognitive restructuring, a technique for understanding negative emotions and addressing the often inaccurate assumptions that generate them, in the mid-1950s. Cognitive reorganization is an essential part of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
15. Boost your resiliency
Our ability to bounce back from stressful or unfavorable circumstances is resiliency. To put it another way, resilient people are capable of recognizing that a circumstance has occurred, learning from it, and moving on.
There are many various types of meditation to explore, each with its own set of benefits. Focus on what you see, hear, taste, feel, and smell. It provides both short-term stress reduction and long-term stress management advantages. You can come up with a mantra to repeat in your head while taking calm, deep breaths. You may also spend a few minutes practicing mindfulness, which is present in the moment.
Kelin Zvomuya is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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