Helping people to do their best work in spite of stress is an important job for any manager. The year 2020 taught many of us just how true this is.  It has always been the best managers who help others overcome the stress of their personal lives, their work deadlines, and other barriers to success. Add to that the stresses of the pandemic, recession, politics, and quarantine, and the value of an effective manager becomes hard to exaggerate.

Here are my favorite reminders for managers interested in helping their people succeed, and in maintaining a healthy workplace:

Thank People by Recognizing Their Hard Work

Voice appreciation for the work of others goes a long way. Recognizing that the work was completed during a time of stress demonstrates support and recognizes that you too have to work harder to overcome a difficult time and that you know that working against the odds is not easy.

Conversely, when people are overwhelmed and frustrated, the feeling that others do not feel the same way, or at least understand, makes a hard job even harder.

Set Realistic Expectations

Before you can recognize people’s success, you need to be clear about what success means. Often in a stressful environment, any effort is seen as insufficient, and any progress is not enough. If that is your work environment, you risk low morale, low effort, and poor results.

Setting clear targets not only creates goals that everybody shares, but makes it possible to meet and even exceed expectations.

Provide Support

Sometimes employees feel like they are on their own and need to figure out how to succeed without help. For remote teams, this feeling of working alone may be amplified.

Try pairing experienced employees with new employees. Encourage virtual lunch and learn sessions. Ask people what they need to get their jobs done and do your best to get it to them.

Respect People’s Work-Life Balance

Even if you are a workaholic, expecting your staff to have no personal lives isn’t realistic, or good for your business. While this is true in “normal” times, think about how important it is when managing remote workers during a pandemic.

Not only are your people working from home, they may also be in a place where kids are learning from home, a spouse may be laid off, and health concerns may feel overwhelming.

Model the Behavior You Seek

Leading by example is powerful.

Managers who support their people, share in the effort to overcome stress, and work to succeed in the face of adversity, build the kind of loyalty that has their people working harder to win, and cheering the successes of each other …  and you.

Would you like to know more about how we work with clients to succeed even when times are tough?

Please contact me directly to learn more about how we can help you.


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