Understanding your employees’ stress helps the entire business
16 February 2021
Employee performance is critical to business success, and one way to help employees succeed in their job is to truly understand each of their stresses.
Businesses pay employees for their time and attention (at least), and what stresses an employee limits how well he or she can work – that’s job performance.
Because each employee is part of the business machine, a low performing (or highly stressed) employee affects how the business operates as a whole. We may experience this as some employees avoiding others, departments that seem confused or disconnected, or certain employees seeming overworked.
In order for us to do something about the stresses, we need to be able to understand the problems. Even if we can’t eliminate an employee’s stress in our role as company leader, simply understanding it will create security and a stronger bond between you.
Here are a few steps a business leader can take to help employees when talking about stress:
- Ask employees questions: regularly, sincerely, and only with curiosity.
- Listen carefully.
- Repeat what they say in your words so the other person knows you understand.
- Have patience. A lot. Okay, maybe a little more.
To get any answer that’s not the party line or professional courtesy, employees need to trust us, and we need to trust them. We take the first step in that dance of trust, always, because as leaders we have leverage over them in the work place.
This is an incredibly deep topic that touches many aspects of human relationships. As leaders, we must be prepared to hear and accept new things from our employees before we assume and act.
Whatever action or decision we choose as leaders in response to what we’ve learned should be focused on getting the employee to succeed at his or her job. Because if every employee succeeds and performs well, our business will too.
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