In any organization, leadership must recognize that their actions and communication directly impact their team members’ overall health and wellbeing.
It’s been said that employees don’t “quit a job, they quit their boss,” which is a truism, and the primary reason employees seek other employment is due in part to their feelings toward the leadership at their jobs.
Why do our feelings toward our boss affect our health?
The main reason is that there is a strong correlation between physical stress, mental well-being, and stress.
Stress is defined as any outside force that disrupts our homeostasis, or “balance.”
In general, we all have some type of stress we’re dealing with, whether it’s from jobs, finances, family, our health, or outside factors in our lives. How we can handle and deal with stress is crucial for our health, and eliminating unnecessary negative stress is vital.
There are also positive forms of stress, known as eustresses, such as when we are excited, such as from a thrilling activity or another type of excitement.
Rock climbing and surfing are apparent types of positive stress examples. Weddings, pregnancy, or other significant events are other examples.
While most people think of those activities as fun, others may not believe as much. In fact, what differentiates positive and negative stress, or distress, is a personal one though there are some common types of distress.
Over time distress can create negative stress that may lead to loss of productivity, physical and mental health concerns, and increased exhaustion.
Problems Of Negative Stress
One of the universal symptoms of distress is feeling overwhelmed and pressured. Often individuals suffering from symptoms of stress will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Physical ramifications: Complaints of headaches, stomachaches, nausea, chest pains, and tingling in extremities are some of the primary ways stress affects our bodies.
- Behavioral change: Personality changes often associated with anger and short-tempers are common.
- Relationships suffer: Problems relating and getting along with others is typical.
- Insufficient sleep: Stress can significantly reduce the quality and quantity of sleep.
- Immune system: Stress and the lack of sleep may impact the immune system.
- Cognitive function: Lack of sleep decreases brain function, making decision making and problem-solving complicated.
- Productivity and performance: Stress can impact job performance, and productivity suffers.
To help your team members eliminate harmful stress from their lives and the workplace requires effective leadership strategies. Why should you alleviate negative stress and promote positive stress?
Among the reasons listed previously, the benefits of positive stress are:
- A better sense of self and improved self-esteem
- Increased motivation and inspiration
- A healthier body and strengthened immune system
- Improved cognitive function
The onus then is on leadership to create a happy, safer place for your team members and others in your sphere of influence.
The primary traits of effective leadership are those that encourage and enable people within a sphere of influence, and ways to take on those tendencies are:
One of the most impactful ways to become a more effective leader is by becoming a better communicator.
Being a better communicator doesn’t mean speaking more. Instead, it means to be clear and precise in what you have to say and honest and friendly in how you talk.
In order for people to trust you, you must trust them first. Trust is one of the hardest things to gain but the most comfortable thing we can lose.
How you treat your team members goes a long way in how you and your actions are perceived. Trust is built on being authentic and honest and showing that your efforts are as you say you will act.
By focusing on your members’ improvements, you’re showing that you care for them as individuals and not just as a cog in the machine.
Offering positive, constructive feedback that highlights team members’ strengths, how it applies to the overall outcomes and offering constructive feedback is an excellent way to build on the trust and rapport you’re establishing.
Next, be open and available for feedback. It shows that you value your members as much as yourself.
Think “quick to compliment, slow to criticize.”