Anyone who either is or has been a manager might laugh at the idea that their
employees are stressed in the workplace. As a manager, you’re privy to information
that your employees aren’t. They get paid every month, so they never know how far
the business sometimes runs into its overdraft. They don’t know about the supply or
lead issues you’re having. Nobody tells them that your biggest rivals are squeezing
you out of the marketplace in terms of marketing. All of these things cause you
stress, but you shield those stresses from your employees. That makes you a good
boss, right? Actually, that’s more likely to be wrong.
There’s every chance that your employees are just as stressed in the workplace as
you are, and unfortunately, there’s every chance that you’re the underlying cause of
their stress
. It’s very unlikely that you mean to be, but you’re stressing your staff out
regardless. You’re probably not even aware that you’re doing it. You need to become
aware, though, and you need to stop it before the situation gets worse. Here are just
a few ways that you might be stressing out your staff without knowing it.
Constantly Making Changes
People like routines. They like to know which days important meetings happen on,
when reports should be filed by, and how the general ebb and flow of each working
day goes. It’s not always possible to keep to such a routine in a hectic modern
workplace, but you should keep variations to a minimum. That’s sometimes a
problem for energetic, imaginative managers who like to experiment with things and
change working patterns in the hope of finding new efficiencies.
If you recognise yourself in this description, here’s a thought exercise for you.
Imagine yourself logging into an online slots website. It doesn’t matter which one, so
Rose Slots for New Zealand players will do just fine. Now imagine that you have only
ten dollars to spend, and you need to win or you’ll be fired. Knowing that, would you
rather spend those ten dollars on a fixed-odds roulette or cards game where you can
at least predict your chances of success, or would you head straight for the online
slots and spend your money there instead? Of course, you’d go for the fixed odds
game. There’s no way of predicting online slots, so there’s no way of knowing how
likely you are to win. The outcome is generated randomly. If you were forced to play
that online slots game with your ten dollars, you’d be unhappy about it. That’s how
your staff feel about your sudden changes, which seem random to them. You still
expect them to perform (win), but they no longer understand the process.
You’re personally invested in the success of your business. You wouldn’t be a good
leader if you weren’t. Because you’re so invested, you probably want to know

everything that’s happening in every department, all of the time. While you might
think that you’re “observing” or “checking in,” what your employees feel is your
presence on their shoulder. They don’t feel trusted, and trust is an important part of
the employee-employer relationship. If you’ve chosen to employ someone, you’ve
made a decision that your employee is worth your trust. Leave them to get on with
the tasks and roles that you’ve assigned to them. You’ll learn whether they’re
effective or not from the results they produce, not from interfering with their
Tone of Communications
There has to be a degree of separation between manager and worker. It’s impossible
to manage someone effectively if you’re simultaneously trying to be their best
friend. That being said, it’s also very easy to go too far the other way – and even
easier if you do a lot of communication via email. The New Yorker recently opined
that emails are making us miserable , and we’re inclined to agree when it comes to
work emails. Most managers aren’t aware that the “professional” tone they use in
their emails can be disheartening. Adopt a more conversational tone where possible.
If you’re about to give bad news, consider calling a meeting or doing it through a
phone call instead. Using email robs you of the ability to communicate using body
language and removes some of the subtle nuances that we use in verbal
communication to convey meaning. Do more speaking and less emailing, and you’ll
have happier staff.
Raised Voices
A wise person once said that you’ll never make the world better by shouting at it.
We’re inclined to agree with that assessment. There are times when, as a manager,
you’ll be extremely frustrated. Mistakes made by people who work for you will cost
you money, time, or both. When someone else makes a mistake, and it has a
negative impact on you, you’re bound to be unhappy about it. Shouting at the
person who made a mistake is very unlikely to change the situation for the better.
You only have one decision to make when someone makes a mistake. Are you going
to fire them, or are you going to keep them and work to ensure that the mistake
never happens again? If you’re going to fire them, hand them the necessary
paperwork and calmly explain why it’s happening. If you’re keeping them, treat the
mistake as a training issue and handle it accordingly. Any other approach is counter-
productive and will make your staff fearful of your temper. Nobody does their best
work in a climate of fear.
There are other factors that could come into play too, but most of them come down
to these four factors: consistency, interference, communications, and anger. If you
can control those four elements, you should find you have a more appreciative

workforce. As is so often the case with business advice, most of it boils down to
common sense. Don’t just read this advice, though – take it on board and try to use
it. Workplace stress is no good for you, your employees, or your business. The more
effort we make to alleviate or remove it, the better the long-term health of our
businesses become. That’s a workplace goal that we should all share.