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Four actions that managers and leaders need to take to reduce growing pressure

Some business leaders and members of the Government are saying that the economy and business conditions are heading in the right direction. This is probably true in some ways, but is only part of the story. Statements made may well mask a major issue you are unaware of.

We perceive that there is a serious gap in terms of understanding and acting upon, the continuous pressures that exist for those who are in employment. Our experience in working with a range of individuals and organisations, confirms that the expectations and demands made on most managers and employees, is greater than ever.

As a responsible leader, manager and employer what do you need to be doing about this? At least these four things:

  • Get out into the business and have real conversations on a regular basis, to form an accurate picture of what is happening and how your people are doing? Unless you have your antennae tuned to locate pressure points, and are getting accurate information, you may perceive situations to be in a better state than you think.
  • Develop regular negotiation as a principle process throughout the organisation. Too many people when asked by their bosses, or the person “in power,” are taking on a workload and level of activity that is unrealistic and unsustainable. Goals and priorities are often unclear or may be the source of unnecessary conflict. If in doubt you can always ask “what can realistically be achieved here, when will it be done by, and who needs to be involved?”
  • Ensure that people throughout the organisation are aware of the level and type of available external support, and understand how it works, especially involving confidentiality. Many people do not know who to talk to or where to go for confidential help, when they need it. Employee Assistance Programmes and other counselling or coaching processes, are there to be called upon when people really experience pressure and stress.
  • Look for ways of cutting costs by considering what stress-related absenteeism, is costing your business or function. One of the best investments you can make, is the introduction of training, and coaching to be available for people going through major change, facing a period of high demands or reaching a critical point in a project. A small investment will enable these people to remain productive and healthy throughout this critical time.

Building in support is not a nice to do it is a necessary practice for all managers and leaders.

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