One can never predict all the situations in which a manager will need to make choices on what to do next, how to decide something, or which initiative to take. However, because we know with absolute certainty that uncertainty exists, it should be enough to remind managers that their leadership requires that they are prepared for the unexpected by anticipating it.
Leaders must manage, and managers must lead. And managers are most effective when there is clarity in their approach, attitude, and process. Therefore, because managers will often find themselves making their decisions in the heat of the moment, it’s critical for managerial leadership to provide context and drill it in.
The Root of Work-Related Stress
Stress in the workplace often arises when there is no system in place to control the flow of work because management has not delegated as they should have. Work eventually piles up with your team members becoming overwhelmed. They don’t feel confident to meet their goals and objectives and complete the tasks in the amount of time they have available.
This can be even worse during times of change. When people are under stress, they tend to resort to things they’ve had success with in the past. And during a change program, this can be counterproductive. When trying to implement a new way of doing things, employees may feel stress about the change and inevitably, revert. Therefore, the manager needs to be very clear about the importance of the change, its positive outcome, and provide context for the change and why it is essential.
In these situations, managers could significantly reduce the stress on their people by doing their managerial work. They should know how critical it is to delegate down the chain and recognizing how employees can best use their time. They know that even the most motivated employees can avoid stress by ensuring employees have the appropriate resources, time availability, and ability to get their work done.
Good Stress vs. Bad Stress
It’s true that some stress can be considered “good.” It’s the kind of stress that leads employees to be more prepared. The right kind of stress indicates that people care about what they do, leading them to focus on their performance, propel them in the right direction, and help them achieve their goals. Ultimately, “good” stress can lead to increased productivity, work fulfillment, and satisfaction.
Bad stress does the opposite. It can cause people to lose control. It causes confusion, lack of focus, and often leads to making the wrong decisions. When the people in the organization know their mission, they can get on with it and let the other stuff drift by. If they don’t, they then try to do everything, proving the impossibility of the task, and therefore, causing more stress.
The necessary act of doing managerial leadership work can, in itself, reduce stress. It can even reduce the triggers of stress, improving performance drastically. It’s the perfect win-win-win for employees, managers, and the organization.
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