5 Emotionally Intelligent Ways to Help Your Employees Handle Stress

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Let’s be honest, work is stressful. It’s up to you to create an environment where your employees can thrive and successfully navigate increasing workloads, distractions, negativity, and changes in the workplace. 

According to The American Institute of Stress, 75 percent of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago. Additionally, 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress, and 42 percent say their co-workers need such help. It’s up to employers to help employees handle everyday stress. 

Getting a handle on employee stress not only increases productivity and improves overall employee well-being, it also prepares your team to handle events that are even more stressful or worrisome. Tapping into your employees’ emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

Here are some emotionally intelligent tips to help your employees better manage stress: 

1. Encourage emotional awareness

The ability to identify and manage your own emotions is the core aspect of being emotionally intelligent. Create a space where your employees feel comfortable recognizing and sharing their own feelings. While it’s easy to encourage the celebration of wins big and small, helping employees share when they’re overwhelmed and stressed isn’t always easy.

Reward employees for speaking up for themselves, and create a team mentality for tackling and managing stressful situations. This will help employees communicate better and be more aware of their stress levels and what triggers their stress. A more self-aware team is equipped to handle interpersonal challenges as they arise.

2. Become a trusted advisor

Build trust with your employees by creating an open-door policy. Allowing your team to come to you when they need a trustworthy person to talk sets employees up for emotional intelligent wins. Rather than feeling alone and frustrated about a problem, employees recognize their stress and meet with you to seek guidance, support, and a potential solution. Asking for help is a stress gamechanger. 

3. Advocate for setting boundaries

We spend most of our time at work, so it makes sense when our work lives bleed into our personal lives. This is where boundaries come into play. Encourage your employees to know what their limits are and make sure that they’re followed.

Emotionally intelligent boundaries may relate to defining job responsibilities such as clarifying who assigns work to whom. They could also be interpersonal boundaries, such as managing the tone of voice used in the office. For example, venting about frustrations with a client can only be done in the morning for 15 minutes during a team huddle. 

4. Promote finding resilience in passion

Setbacks are inevitable at work. Help employees bounce back from difficulties by keeping them focused on ideas, tasks, or overall projects that excite them and boost their creativity or passion. 

Finding resilience in what you’re passionate about is an emotionally intelligent way to activate a positive attitude and outlook to better move through turbulent times. Employees who make a conscious decision to thrive in spite of adverse events will see hardships as times for professional growth.  


5. Set the example

Most importantly, you can’t promote emotionally intelligent stress management to your employees by being a ball of stress yourself. If your employees see you working around the clock, or never taking a vacation, and showcasing negativity, they’re going to follow suit. 

Focus on ways to be a better example to your employees by actively handling your stress. This could be as simple as getting your team together for a group workout, encouraging a meditation app, or even taking the vacation you so desperately need. 

Don’t let stress damage the success of your employees. Give your team the stress management tools they need to thrive. 

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.