Stress is inevitable. It happens at home as well as at work. No matter how well things are going, there will always be some problems that come your way. As a manager, you might find yourself trying to cope with staffing shortages, recent layoffs, too many errors, missing goals, newly added goals, turnover in senior administration, etc. If you’re new to the job, you will have enough stress with learning the ropes let alone all of the other possible contributing factors.
Stress cannot be avoided and you cannot always control what happens, but how you react to the situation can make all the difference in the world. That’s the secret to keeping stress under control. You need to know the cause of stress, how it affects you, and how to adapt. Here are 12 ways to help adapt to stressful situations:
· Is it when you are going into a meeting? If so, take the time to be well prepared so that you can have confidence when going into the meeting.
· Is it when you are not making your numbers? If so, get with your top people and figure out how you are going to correct the situation.
· Is it because of poor employee attendance? If so, let your staff (or just the offending employee) know that you recognize the problem and will be keeping a close eye on future attendance issues.
· Is it when you lose focus on a particular project? If so, change the scene for a while and focus on another project or task. When you come back to the original project, you will have a renewed focus.
· Is it when you have too much coffee or cola? If so, only have one cup of coffee in the morning and one coffee or cola in the afternoon. Caffeine can help trigger stress.
The point here is for you to figure out and recognize your hot spots so that you can take the necessary steps to reduce or eliminate the problem situation. When you see it coming, quickly focus on a calming scene like relaxing at the beach or being with your family, and most importantly, stay cool. Always deal with stressful situations in a calm, yet controlling matter. Be professional and do not run away from the situation. Play the part of a wise and calm leader, and never let them see you sweat. Always give the impression that you have everything under control. Losing your cool and control will only add to the stress that is already there. When you’re under stress you will start panicking and talking too fast. When you see stress coming your way, control the panic and slow down your talking. This will instill calm to those around you. If you’re not losing your head, they wont either.
· Take 2 or 3 deep breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth.
· Press the side of one nostril with your finger, breathe in slowly and deeply through the other open nostril, and hold it for a one second. Release your finger and use a finger from your opposite hand to press the side of the opposite nostril and slowly let out all of the air through the previously closed nostril. Now do it in reverse. Do this exercise 2 times.
Your body will respond with reduced muscle tension, lower blood pressure and a slower heart rate. These are very calming breathing exercises.
By following these tips, you can lessen the amount of stress at work and improve your health.
The good news for new managers is that what is considered stressful early in your career, will seem trivial once you have some experience under your belt. All new managers get stressed out with their new job responsibilities, but it will get better. Just remember to have confidence in your abilities.
You also need to make sure your employees are not stressed. By utilizing the structure and teamwork philosophies taught in lesson 3, your staff should be relatively stress free. You should still keep an eye on your employees to make sure they are not stressed out too much. The less stressed they are, the less stressed you will be. If you see signs of bad attitudes, back stabbing, work areas in disarray, absenteeism, high attrition, a feeling of fear, and just an overall look of stress on their faces, hold a meeting with your staff as soon as possible and address the issues. The two questions to ask are, “What’s wrong with the department,” and, “what can we do to fix it?” Focus on the matter at hand and make sure you set the ground rules of no personal attacks. Express that you all want the same thing, which is to work in a positive stress free atmosphere. Listen to what everyone has to say, write down all of the points brought up, and don’t stop pursuing the issue until you have an answer to the problem. Make sure you close the meeting on a positive note.