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CHICAGO — In the environment we work in, it is imperative that we all reexamine what we are doing and how we are doing it. Stress levels in just about any workplace are on the rise, but we can all play a major role in reducing them.
It’s in a manager’s best interest to keep stress levels in his or her workplace to a minimum. Managers must be positive role models, especially in stressful times.
Concerning the tips I’ll mention in this article, it’s vital that managers follow them. If someone whom we admire remains calm, it is much easier to remain calm ourselves!
Managers and employers can make organizational changes to reduce workplace stress. Most importantly, managers need to clearly understand workload variances in each area for which they are responsible and carefully allocate resources to the areas that are most in need.
If one area has been under the gun for a long time, let’s say years, but resources are allocated to new areas where the light is shining most brightly at the moment, what do you think that’ll do to the workplace stress-o-meter? Managers need to carefully ensure that decisions on resource allocations, like manpower and other fiscal support, are balanced.
Here are some tips for reducing workplace stress:Strengthen Communications
- Share information with employees to reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures.
- Clearly define employees’ roles and responsibilities.
- Make communication friendly and efficient, not mean-spirited, petty or egotistic.
- Don’t play favorites. If you are, discontinue it immediately.
- Involve all elements of the organization in your decision-making process. Respect the honesty of your managers even though they may not agree with your methodology.
- Keep budgetary responsibility in line with organizational effectiveness; do not separate these entities.
Consult Your Team/Secondary Managers and Affected Employees
Give workers opportunities to participate in decisions that affect their jobs.
- Consult employees about scheduling and work rules.
- Be sure the workload is suitable to employees’ abilities and resources; avoid unrealistic deadlines.
- Demonstrate that individual workers are valued.
- Don’t make decisions behind closed doors; discuss these potential decisions first and foremost with those involved.
Rewards and Incentives
Praise good performance verbally and institutionally.
- Provide opportunities for career development, but don’t insist on higher education when the employee doesn’t have the time to achieve such endeavors.
- Promote an “entrepreneurial” work climate that gives employees more control over their work.
- Pay employees for what they do, not for what you think they could do.
- Don’t make assumptions based on academic achievements, but rather appreciate what really transpires in the workplace. Always involve the manager responsible for program functions, because sometimes they can explain day-to-day operations better than the employee. Or, involve both persons in the discussion.
- Establish reasonable goals and objectives. Never establish these work-related objectives in a vacuum. Affected employees should always have the opportunity to express alternative methods.
Cultivate a Positive Social Climate
Provide opportunities for social interaction among employees.
- Establish a zero-tolerance policy for harassment.
- Don’t allow some employees more freedom than others. Once you have a policy, apply it to everyone equally.
- Make management actions consistent with organizational values.
- Be totally honest with all employees.