April is stress awareness month, so what better time to look at the role of line managers in managing workplace stress. Work related stress, depression and anxiety accounted for 15.4 million days of employee absence in the year 2017/8 with workload and lack of support cited as leading causes*.
Not only does excessive stress have a negative impact on an individuals mental health and resilience, it can also affect relationships and morale within their teams and the wider business.
Line managers on the front line
Line managers are often the best placed people to spot the symptoms of stress in their team because they work closely with the individuals within it and have a good understanding of working practices and processes.
But to spot stress symptoms successfully, they need to know what they are looking for, and crucially, what to do about it. Without this knowledge, line managers themselves are more susceptible to heightened stress levels, as teams start underperforming, relationships break down, and the solution remains elusive.
Give line managers the tools to manage stress in their teams
You can take steps to prepare your line managers for such situations and arm them with the tools and knowledge to competently manage stress in their teams.
Stress workshops aimed specifically at this group are widely available.
These workshops will typically introduce line managers to working models to help them understand stress and its symptoms, as well as helping them look at their own stress triggers, responses and thought processes.
Line managers will be given tools to notice and deal with their own stressors and those of their team members, and to develop effective support structures for their teams.
Armed then with this in-depth knowledge of the triggers of stress, line managers are better able to take steps to limit instances of high stress in their teams.
They might find ways to identify and tweak processes that are specific triggers or to distribute workloads more strategically. They will feel more confident in supporting team members who are showing symptoms of stress, as well as being able to manage their own stress responses in a constructive way.
Good for everybody
The benefits of stress training for line managers not only helps teams and the individuals within them have a more harmonious work life, it also has wider benefits for the organisation.
Whilst it’s widely accepted that a certain amount of stress is good for motivation and productivity, excessive stress is known to have the opposite effect.
A team that is able to manage stress levels effectively can therefore perform to the best of their ability and be a great asset to the wider business. *Source: Work related stress depression or anxiety statistics in Great britain, 2018. HSE. October 2018 All Health Matters can provide stress workshops on site for your line managers, as well as other mental health workshops and training.
Contact us to discuss your requirements.
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