How Leaders Can Reduce Employee Stress in a Big Way

What can be done to lower employee stress levels across-the-board?

Worker stress comes from many sources. Leaders can take proactive steps to reduce employee stress levels if they consider these leadership strategies:

1.     Improve Person-Job Fit. An important source of stress is when employees are in jobs that don’t “fit” their knowledge, skills, or interests. In fact, person-job misfit is defined as a stressor.

What can a leader do? Make sure that employees are in jobs for which they are qualified and jobs that they find are interesting and challenging.


2.     Improve Employee Training and Orientation. Stress results when workers’ knowledge and skills are not adequate to perform their jobs.

What can a leader do? Good orientation/onboarding and training programs mean that new employees, and seasoned employees, are able to perform their jobs with ease and without undue stress.


3.     Increase Employees’ Sense of Control. Stress results when employees believe that they cannot control their work environment – when things are unpredictable, or they don’t understand why they are doing what they are doing.

What can a leader do? Keep employees informed about what’s going on. Communicate regularly. Allow employees to participate in decision-making(when appropriate). Provide employees with some autonomy.


4.     Eliminate Punitive Management. Punished or threatened workers are stressed workers.

What can a leader do? Use positive reinforcement liberally, and punishment sparingly, and only to stop dangerous or out-of-control employee behaviors


5.     Provide a Safe, Supportive Work Environment. Feeling a sense of safety (physically and psychologically) and getting support from colleagues reduces stress.

What can a leader do? Foster a supportive team spirit, rewarding employees for helping one another. Employee assistance programs can help when team members get extremely stressed. Eliminate or minimize workplace dangers and injuries.


Removing such sources of stress is a cost-effective stress management strategy!


Originally published at Psychology Today