Part 1, Part 2
All of the issues mentioned in part 1 come under 'duty of care'. You will have people in your family or circle of friends, who can be described by the above - whether or not you are personally aware of that. You will recognise from in your previous workplace. You may recognise the descriptions of (previous) colleagues. You may even suffer - or have suffered - yourself.
Sooner or later, we all fit at least one of those descriptions in part 1: managing stress in the workplace. It is called dealing with life! Stress management in the workplace will always play a part of your daily routine in one shape or another.
Take the time to just listen (See: relationship communication for advanced listening skills). Yep ... I know - you may well be too busy. However, very likely you will be saving yourself a lot of time with an unproductive employee, who may also be going 'off sick' further down the line.
Be prepared to be flexible
around a crisis. You prevent people from taking longer
term sick leave, if you can give them some time off here and
there to deal with a crisis. The 'crisis' is all too
often related to marital problems, an ending of a relationship
or problems with children.
Be a good boss if there has been a death. If there is a death in the family - give compassionate leave. Be generous if it is a very close member of the family - give a few days here and there, not just one to attend the funeral if your employee has lost someone close. Consider giving your employee compassionate hours. They may be coping one minute and the next feel completely overwhelmed.
Talk to the individual about what kind of help they have accessed. This is a good way of managing stress in the workplace, particularly for people who are frequently absent due to depression and/or anxiety. Have they had talking therapy? Have they been to their doctor? Are they talking to friends? Are they engaged in social activities?
Expect good work, if the problems are not due to a crisis or death. Be understanding and supportive, if you know your employee normally performs well and the events at home are time limited.
Talk regularly with the person about what is going on and how you can help if the problems are likely to be long term. Book the one-to-one's ahead and separate them from Personal Development Reviews. These extra sessions should be about support and what you can do to help him/her in the office/workplace. However - they are not counselling sessions and your staff member should be aware of the time limit at the start of your conversation.
Plan ahead as much
as possible, to prevent adding to any anxiety. The more
settled and calmer your member of staff is, the more
productive he/she will be, the fewer problems you are likely
have in the team as a result. Clearly, your business may
not be of a type where you can plan ahead. Be sure
though that you appoint staff who thrive on deadlines.
Employees with a more anxious disposition perform much better
in a stable environment with a set routine.
Run team stress management training events. Address problems with individuals also indirectly by organising team events, such as stress management workshops in the workplace. Everyone benefits, and individuals take responsibility for what they 'take away' from the stress management workshop.
Mostly people are quite able to deal with their problems without it affecting their work too much. There is not necessity for you to worry, if they choose not to talk to you about their personal problems - they are entitled to their privacy.
However, if you are concerned about the quality of their work, their sickness absence, their behaviour in the team, or, most importantly - their personal safety - you need to inquire. Stress management in the workplace starts with that personal approach.***adsense-middle-mind.shtml***
If you are worried that someone is at risk of harming themselves, or others:
Questions about hypnosis? See: Hypnosis online FAQ.
Do you have access to Occupational Health Advisers? If someone does not want to talk, does not appear to be helping themselves (and please, try not to make judgments about the meaning of 'helping yourself' - it means different things to different people), then a referral to the Occupational Health Department may be helpful - if that option is open to you.
Occupational health professionals are uniquely placed to advice you and your employee/team member on getting the best outcome for you both.
(You may want to think about whether their not talking to you has anything to do with how you deal with people though.)
If all else fails, then you will need to manage the situation using the normal tools, procedures and processes. My guess is that you have formal procedures in place and of course the first option you can look at is a development plan, including further training. Don't be tempted to 'send' the person for counselling - it won't work.
There is nothing you can do or need to do, if your employee is clearly having a really tough time, but does not want to talk and is continuing to work well. They may be experiencing relationship problems, familial or personal challenges - as long as they are doing OK at work - all you can do is to stay aware.
Stress management in the workplace is most effective with early intervention - by talking, managing workload and fostering good relationships with colleagues. It is one of the best ways to avoid long term absenteeism.
How do you improve the well-being of your staff? You pay attention to the human givens (see links). In the following video Dan Pink presents the value of ensuring that your employees can meet their need for a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose.
From my perspective - your staff will feel all the better for it and will function much better. Science, as well as the experience of companies like Google, prove that it increases productivity and ultimately that would look good in your balance books or on your CV.
All of the above will help you to improve and embrace emotional intelligence in your business. Being able to respond to people's emotions will help you in your personal relationships too and add to the 'bottom line' as you become more skillful in your business relationships too.
Being able to read and understand people will make you a better negotiator - be that to get that much-coveted business deal, funding for an extra member of staff or a salary increase - emotional intelligence in business is a must!
Fine-tune your relationship and lift your spirits!
You may also be interested in:
Problem solving strategies
Problem solving techniques
How to deal with criticism
Signs of a nervous breakdown
Signs of depression
Anger management tips
Interpreting body language
Stress management article: Part 1, Part 2
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