Surviving? Or Thriving?

Tuesday, December 3 2019

We all experience stress in our lives. Some level of stress is normal in the workplace. It can act as a stimulant to help us achieve more. However, excessive, prolonged stress can interfere with our productivity, as well as have a negative impact on our physical well-being, emotional health, and our relationships. Unfortunately, such long-term stress is all too common, especially in the workplace, and if it remains unchecked, it can lead to burnout, absenteeism, and high turnover.

Effective leadership is key to preventing unnecessary workplace stress. What can you do, as a leader, to create an environment that is conducive to the growth, development, and optimal performance of your employees?


Lack of clarity kills productivity, reduces engagement, and is one of the main causes of wasted time and resources. Your goal is to provide clarity to your employees about their roles so that they can set their priorities and know if they are doing well, even when you are not present.

Ask your employee:

  • How do you know when you are doing well?
  • How do you prioritize your tasks?
  • How do you determine the quality of your performance?

If you see any hesitation there is room for more clarity.

Effective feedback

One report I read suggests that turnover rates drop by almost 15% when employees receive regular feedback. This is hardly surprising because feedback provides information about how well we are doing. Timely, constructive and meaningful feedback makes a difference. It is most effective when related to a specific goal, expectation or performance standard that has been established in advance. Communicate clearly to your employees and ensure that everyone understands these standards.

When you wait too long, feedback loses its effectiveness, so scheduled one-on-ones are a great opportunity to provide quality feedback consistently.

Your goal is for the receiver of your feedback to be able to answer the question: “What specifically can I do more or less of next time based on the feedback I have received?”

Open lines of communication

When employees can communicate with managers, it alleviates stress. Just knowing that the lines of communication are open helps in many situations. Active listening, coaching and empathy contribute to a sense of feeling valued and supported. When you give your undivided time and attention to your employees, you are sending a very important message: “You matter.”

Clarity, effective feedback, and open communication create an environment where employees thrive instead of just surviving.