6 mortal sins you must never commit to a stressed employee


6 mortal sins you must never commit to a stressed employee

If you have a stressed employee, the right communication can be the distinction between whether or not the employee will be off sick. Here you will receive a guide to the 6 mortal sins you must never commit to a stressed employee.   

There is a big difference between positive and negative stress.

Positive stress is caused by the satisfaction of pursuing a result. On the contrary, negative stress is caused by an immense workload and a workload that, to the employee, can seem impossible to get through.

As a manager, communication is your most important tool in the workplace when tackling stress.

The 6 mortal sins you must never commit

  1. Ask closed questions
  2. Speak from your own viewpoint
  3. Have a fear of intimacy
  4. Sidestep an issue
  5. Ignore symptoms
  6. Practice employee therapy

Ask OPEN questions

The above, of course, requires elaboration – and not least an alternative to what you should do instead. So let’s start from one end. Do not ask closed questions such as

“Aren’t you up to your ears in work?”

By asking closed questions as above, you only open up for a yes / no answer rather than the employee being able to provide a constructive response. An alternative to the closed question could be an open question such as:

“What do you need (from me)?”

By allowing the employee to come up with a constructive answer, you have an easier time getting their input and response on how to best handle this situation. 

See it from the employee’s viewpoint 

As an extension of the above, it is important not to speak from your own viewpoint. For example, 

“I think you should wait coming back to work, until you are completely ready.”

Here you use yourself as the starting point, rather than the employee. Instead, you can start from the employee’s own frame of reference:

“What course of action would make sense to you right now?”

This opens up for the employee to come up with solutions and opens up for them to tell how they feel.

Drop the fear of intimacy

As a manager, you have a responsibility to make your employees feel that they can go to you and talk. It does not matter if it is stress, illness, depression or something else.

As a leader, you need to be their go-to person.

Even if you can do nothing but listen, it is important that your employees can be heard.

Avoid sidestepping the issue

If an employee is in doubt about what is expected of him or her, it is difficult to deliver a satisfying result. Therefore, it is important that you speak clearly and distinctly to your employees. Tell them what you expect from them without wrapping it up.

Avoid making the “sandwich method”, where you present your inputs as so:

  • Something positive about the employee
  • Now, what you really want to say
  • Finish with something positive

This confuses the employee, rather than letting them knowwhat you really mean.

Avoid ignoring the obvious symptoms

If your employee is stressed, he or she may not even realize it at first. Therefore, as a leader, you must be able to recognize and spot the obvious symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Work from home more than usually
  • Poorer memory
  • Poor night’s sleep

When one is stressed, the surplus energy to say ‘no’ is gone. Therefore, a stressed employee can quickly take on even more tasks than he/she can handle. It is important to be aware of this – otherwise, the person will just become even more stressed.

Stressed employee – Are you the right person to practice employee therapy?

Make it clear to yourself where your line goes concerning the treatment of an employee.

Consider when it’s time to get professionals help from the outside.

For example, contact us at KLAUSEN and discuss what can be done to help them.

These were the 6 mortal sins you must not commit to an employee.