Ann De Bisschop Logo

Stress among team members: this is how you deal with it

Are your employees stressed? Follow these steps to make sure that as a manager you aren’t part of the problem but of the solution.

  1. Focus on awareness. Inform and sensitize team leaders on stress issues. Not only will you teach them how to detect stress signals for themselves, but also how to spot them for their team members. Furthermore, you offer them a framework that brings the abstract subject of stress up for discussion.
  2. Make stress detection a part of your corporate culture. A lecture or statement on stress prevention is easily forgotten when immediately after it you need to tackle hundreds of urgent little issues. Make sure that after the counselling there’s also some kind of follow-up. Peer groups of supervisors who have lunch together once every month, to discuss stress issues in their respective teams, are very useful to regularly consider stress situations at work.
  3. Make sure you don’t cause any negative stress yourself. David Rock, Director of the NeuroLeadership Institute in the US, has researched the negative impact of supervisors on the stress levels of their employees for years. He discovered five important aspects to take into account:
  • Status: By not recognising employees’ status, you bring them down. Give them the right amount of confidence to finish a project on their own. Do not comment on anyone’s performances in front of others.
  • Security: Make sure that your employees know what the future projects of the company are. Include them in the big picture, but also inform them on their own future. Make sure that your employees know what you know.
  • Autonomy: Give your employees enough elbow room. Let them work towards a goal in their own creative way. When you deprive them of having control on a task, by aligning everything in advance, you create stress (and stress = losing control). Leave enough space for creativity and for their own input.
  • Connection: Don’t isolate your employees from the group. Make sure that everyone feels part of the process. Don’t let anyone work all alone on a project when others are allowed to work in team. Don’t create inequality among a group of colleagues.
  • Honesty: Treat everyone in the same way and be fair. Give everyone the same advantages, apply the same rules for everyone.