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Five Ways to Push Your Employees Without Stressing Them Out

By Harvard Business Review | December 1, 2017

 Employees tend to perform at higher levels and experience less stress when they feel connected to their leaders.

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 It is important for leaders to show support and gratitude to employees. Thank them for helping on a project, for reaching a goal or for staying late. | 123RF Stock Photo

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.

So how can you help reduce the stress of your co-workers and employees?

Here are some suggestions.

Provide as much certainty and clarity as possible: This is especially important when describing job functions, lines of reporting, compensation and any significant changes to the organization. Doing so won’t guarantee employee motivation, but without this clarity employees’ minds will go to the worst-case scenarios, and productivity will suffer.

Be fair: Fairness can take the form of spending equal time with those in your next level of command, listening to everyone at a meeting, explaining your decision-making processes more clearly and recognizing when someone might feel slighted.

Show support and gratitude: Get up and walk around to talk to people. Thank them for helping on a project, for reaching a goal or for staying late. Putting resources, money and praise behind their efforts will alert colleagues that the organization cares about supporting people who do good work.

Exhibit self-confidence and competence as a leader: When executives demonstrate their own abilities, it provides an assurance to co-workers that they are under the direction of a “pack leader” who can protect them. Feeling safe is a key factor in stress reduction and job satisfaction.

Keep your promises: And if you can’t, don’t make any. Too much stress results from people becoming worried about a lack of follow-through from the boss on promises or offers made, even when they are well-intentioned.

RELATED: More Articles on Leadership

Copyright 2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

Topics: Leadership, Management

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