Manage workplace stress

workplace, stress, manage

 

Building passion is also a great way to manage and reduce workplace stress. Stress is a serious drain on productivity and had a direct effect on worker health and absenteeism. Stress-related illnesses cost businesses an estimated $200 billion to $300 billion a year in lost productivity, as reported in Stress in the Workplace. A study by Health Advocate found that 1 million workers miss work each day due to stress. This absenteeism costs employers an estimated $600 per worker each year. Twelve percent of employees have called in sick because of job stress. This is not surprising because most people respond to increased stress with added caffeine and alcohol consumption, smoking, and prescription medications.

A leader’s role in reducing workplace stress

Leaders can reduce stress by helping their people better manage it. Understand that leaders don’t create stress for others. Instead, they create conditions that, taken together with whatever is going on in people’s personal lives, can increase stress levels and decrease productivity and job satisfaction.

A leader’s role, then, is to help their people by educating them about the importance of self-care (see Step 4). They should encourage people to eat properly, take regular breaks and get enough sleep. People also need to have their minds and souls “fed,” with such things as time management training, meditation, prayer and a list of personal and team values to motivate them and help them make correct, healthy decisions. Leaders can also help by pitching in; offering people opportunities to delegate; accepting excellent, even if imperfect, work; and giving people the opportunity to vent and offer constructive feedback to improve processes and systems.

Of course, leaders cannot force their people to take better care of themselves, but the very fact that they offer options and serve as a resource for stress reduction can itself be helpful. After all, who gets the blame for work-related stress if not the boss?

How leaders can reduce their own stress

In addition to the strategies listed above, leaders should consider the following tactics to manage their own increased stress levels.

  • Label your emotion. The simple act of labeling our emotions reduces activity in the emotional brain and increases activity in the areas of the brain associated with focus and awareness. By labeling your emotions you can better separate yourself from the experience and draft a clearer plan on how to handle it.
  • Record and review your leadership goals. Clarity of purpose and action is a solid defense against leadership stress.
  • Be selective in your work. This was discussed in Step 1. Don’t engage in tasks and efforts that unproductive or produce limited benefits. Your time and attention are extremely valuable and must be protected.
  • Learn to delegate. Clear your plate of all the “other” things so you can do the “right” work. We detailed how to do this in Step 2.
  • Seek to control only the controllable. Focus on the things you can control such as your efforts and the way you choose to react to problems.
  • Remain positive. Stress is part of leadership and running successful enterprises. Don’t let it poison your mindset or, more importantly, your self-perception.
  • Get social support. Leaders often lack social support at work. To combat this, consider joining a peer board, a mastermind group, or a leadership development group that will provide trustworthy, confidential, and ongoing social support.
  • Re-group on a task. When a task is stressful, look for ways to better organize and streamline what needs to be done. Take time to clearly define roles and clarify expectations.
  • Increase your determination. Commit to working through your challenges and to not let them gain the upper hand. This determination will push you through the most challenging moments when you may otherwise be inclined to pull back.
  • Keep a collection of inspirational quotes handy. Quotes can give us quick bursts of inspiration. Here are two:
    • “Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: It is this that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” (Thomas Carlyle)
    • “The obstacle is the path.” (Zen proverb)
  • Consider your impact. As much as you are struggling with your burden, keep in mind that you are still needed by others. Your leadership, guidance, direction and support are critical elements in your organization and folks need you to be there for them. Use such thinking to push yourself forward.
  • Share what’s happening. Share your situation with a few close confidants who support you and can fill in for you as needed. Just knowing that others care about you can be extremely uplifting and can keep you going during difficult moments. Having people who can step in during your absence will help alleviate the burden and make sure that things move forward as needed.
  • Find the silver lining. In almost every difficult situation there are silver linings, including considering how many others may have it worse. For example, if you’re struggling with a defiant child who is making poor decisions, consider how much worse off others may be in terms of their condition and disconnect.
  • Reflect on how others did it. Life is filled with stories of “failures” who endured challenges yet went on to achieve great successes. People like Albert Einstein (rejected from college), Thomas Edison (failed repeatedly to invent the light bulb), FDR (crippled by polio), Charles Schwab/Richard Branson (struggled in school due to dyslexia) and Oprah Winfrey (domestic abuse) all overcome personal challenges to achieve greatness.

6 habits that are ruining your chances of getting a promotion

article-image

Hungry for a more senior role? Eager to sink your teeth into a new challenge? Whether there are promotion opportunities on your radar or not, your habits can put the odds of getting promoted on your side — or stop your career development in its tracks.

And if you think hard work and experience alone are enough, think again. “Hard work and experience are great things to possess but it’s not the only thing that’s going to get you where you want to go,” says Joyel Crawford, CEO of Crawford Leadership Strategies and host of Career View Mirror, a career development show. “It’s up to you to put the career address into the GPS and press go.”

Wondering what kind of habits to keep in mind in order to avoid a career crash? It’s all about being visible and putting yourself in front of the right people — even in the age of remote work. And you’ll also wanna focus on cultivating a solutions-oriented, resourceful mindset.

“Having an intrapreneurial mindset can really help catapult you into visibility projects that will drive results for the business and for your professional goals as well. What solutions can you bring to the table? How can you help the organization save, make or donate more revenue?” says Crawford.

Beyond cultivating your network and adopting the right mindset, there are also actions and approaches you should absolutely avoid if you want to get a promotion anytime soon. Start by unlearning the six habits below.

1. Passive decision-making

“You have to take an active part in navigating your career,” says Crawford, who recommends building a network of professionals who can not only act as a support system but also serve as possible mentors or sponsors that help you drive your career.

And if you’re interested in a particular role or career direction, shadowing or informally interviewing someone who holds a similar position is a great move.

“This type of background research is key — you may find that the position you want isn’t at all what you saw from the outside looking in. Shadowing and informational interviews will also give you some visibility. And don’t let working remotely get in your way, you can still do this via a web-based meeting platform.”

2. Being a sore loser

Being resentful at work is a surefire way to erode your reputation. Let’s say you just got passed up for a promotion. It’s normal to feel disappointed, but it’s really important to process your disappointment in a healthy way and avoid letting it show. “If you don’t get the role the first time, how you show up afterward counts even more,” says Crawford.

So resist the temptation to lose steam or disengage. Do lick your wounds if you need to, but then focus on using the missed opportunity as motivation to improve and find an even better opportunity for you.

3. Not knowing your why

Do you know why you even want a promotion to begin with? And are you making it all about yourself? When thinking about your next step, Crawford says it’s important to keep in mind the why behind the what — not only in terms of what you value but also what your organization values.

Aligning your own interests and desires with the needs and goals of the company will help you get clarity on what to bring to the table. Better yet, the alignment will naturally encourage you to tap into your passion. “That passion will come through in your interview and your day-to-day dealings with others.”

4. Lack of consistency

Getting promoted is not the finish line. It’s only the first step. “Every day is an interview even after you nailed that next step up the career ladder or across the career lattice. Everyone matters, from the assistant to the executive. Treat everyone with kindness, dignity and respect. Get to know all of the names of the people you interact with. No one is beneath you,” says Crawford.

The good news is that if you focus on cultivating the right habits, you’ll be equipped with lifelong best practices regardless of your role or industry.

5. Neglecting relationships

Life sometimes gets in the way. But neglecting to nurture your professional relationships might be costing you your chances of getting a promotion. From thanking people who’ve helped you to keep in touch with former coworkers and bosses, small gestures go a long way when it comes to keeping career bridges intact.

Crawford recommends reaching out to mentors on a quarterly basis, getting into the habit of sending thank-you notes and booking one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders: “I’ve also found that having a one-on-one with your new clients or a new manager that you’re supporting is paramount.”

Why? To discuss expectations and deliver on them, which will get you that much closer to a promotion. “This really helps set the tone of collaboration and support. It used to blow people’s minds when I came into their office and asked them how they wanted to be supported,” says Crawford.

6. Having zero boundaries

Even if you love working, burnout won’t get you where you want to go. “Take care of yourself and create boundaries. Putting in 20+ hours a day thinking that will help you get the promotion faster is only burning you out and making you less productive,” says Crawford.

“You need to take care of yourself. There’s only one you — and we need you to keep bringing your best light and talents to the world. You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Manage your energy in a sustainable way so you can keep crushing it once you get the job.