Managers often feel caught between a rock and a hard place. Challenged to meet organizational goals in a tough economic climate, they push teams to do more and subsequently watch stress levels rise. On the other hand, if they pull back and become too relaxed, they fear their teams will become uninspired and unmotivated. Wheres the happy medium?
According to the experts at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, whats described above is the wrong way to think about the problem.
Some employers assume that stressful working conditions are a necessary evil that companies must turn up the pressure on workers and set aside health concerns to remain productive and profitable, NIOSH wrote in a publication. But research is challenging this belief.
Its possible to push people and set ambitious goals without creating unmanageable stress, according to the institute. The key is to use strategies familiar to smart managers:
Clearly define expectations and communicate with workers.
Give people challenging but meaningful work that allows them to use and grow their skills.
Recognize outstanding performance.
Focus on objectives and give people autonomy and flexibility.
Give employees the tools and resources they need to excel.
Under those conditions, people can achieve tremendous results without falling prey to stress.