Not all employees are comfortable talking to their managers, let alone telling them that they are feeling stressed. This is why it's important for you as a manager to create an atmosphere in which your staff will be at ease coming to you for help. You need to make it clear to them that their mental health is a top priority. Remember, what affects your employees will affect you. Burnout increases absenteeism, turnover, and work accidents, and lowers productivity as well as your organization's bottom line.
Make it a point to talk to your employees on a regular basis about how they are doing, and ask if there's anything they need from management. Conduct anonymous surveys to assess your staff's morale and stress level. It's much easier to deal with problems in their early stages than when an employee has reached total burnout.
If you notice signs that an employee is stressed, broach the subject diplomatically and with compassion. Here's how:
For work-related problems
In many cases, an employee's stress reaction is due to a work issue. It could be a tough workload, a recent change in responsibilities or position, project management issues, or a conflict with a colleague or supervisor.
Proceed with whatever intervention is required for the situation. For example, if it's a workload issue, reassign some of the work or adjust the deadlines. If the problem is related to work-life balance, try as much as you can to accommodate the employee's needs.
For personal problems
If the employee is dealing with a personal problem, a different, more tactful approach is required. You may learn more about the employee than you want to know or should know. Spillover (bringing work problems home and vice versa) is common in = stressful jobs. The difficulty for managers when an employee is dealing with a personal problem, however, is the issue of confidentiality.
Here are some guidelines for personal issues:
For unavoidable Problems
Some stressors that employees face, like cut-backs, lay-offs, inflexible deadlines, irreversible changes, or a lack of company resources, cannot be changed. However, what you can do as a manager is buffer their impact on your staff.