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Leadership Tip: Lower Employee Stress Levels
By Liz Holland on

A recent study led by the Harvard Business Review revealed that leaders tend to be less stressed at work than lower-level employees. It’s hard to say exactly why; it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation.

Bosses have higher job security, more power, and know more about future business plans, i.e. who’s going to stay and who’s likely to get cut. Thus, they have less stress and less vulnerabilities in some areas – albeit more pressure in other due to higher expectation. At the same time, leadership tends to be more accessible to those who are able to manage stress successfully. It goes without saying that anxiety, emotional outbursts, poor presentation abilities, or clamming up during stressful situations probably won’t lead to a promotion. So why not incorporate leadership strategies designed to ease stress levels?

According to Karen Firestone, CEO, and co-founder of Aureus Asset Management, there is an art to keeping your employees in a lower-stress state at work. According to Firestone,

Studies show that when leaders create a safe and supportive environment, individuals tend to feel more connected to that leader, perform at a higher level, and experience less stress than when they feel unattached to their boss.

There are a few leadership strategies in particular that leaders can apply to alleviate unnecessary stress that might plague a team. In the end, over-stressed workers are less efficient, so it pays to consciously keep your team in good mental health. Try applying the following advice offered by Firestone:

  • To the greatest extent you can, provide certainty and clarity
  • Be fair
  • Show support and gratitude
  • Exhibit self-confidence and competence as a leader
  • Keep your promises

There is more detail on each of these points in Firestone’s article, which is well worth a read. While it’s easy to transfer stress onto employees, avoid this tendency as much as possible. In order to function well as a team, everyone needs to be capable – and feel capable – to carry the weight they must carry in order to do their job well.

As a leader, part of your job is make sure that your employees are able to trust your word, trust you to be fair, to be clear, to be confident, and to be the type of person they can confidently follow without undue stress, fear, or uncertainty. As Firestone puts it, “It’s important that leaders are the prime example of thoroughly executing on their own commitments to the people who support them.”


At MeetingPulse, we believe in humble bosses, open communication, and healthy leadership strategies. We provide easy-to-use interactive tools that support healthy corporate culture for employees and administration alike. If you want to know more about your employees’ thoughts, ideas, and preferences, get more involved in organizational feedback by trying out our browser-based response system. We provide real-time survey and polling software via any device, so your audience will never need to download an app. Contact us for more information or click on ‘Keep Me Posted’ on our blog page to receive blog updates and our free ebook.

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