3 Steps to Help Employees Manage Personal Stress at Work

By on January 11, 2013
Community engagement

I recently answered a question on a small business community Website about dealing with an employee whose personal issues were affecting their job performance. The business owner wanted to know how they should handle the situation because the once-valued employee was quickly falling behind in all areas of their work. They were allowing trouble at home to become trouble at work and, suddenly, nothing was going right for them.

Here is my response: For most people, the biggest fear in life is fear of the unknown. When things start to go badly, at work and at home, a person’s mind can start to wander. They then lose focus on priorities in both places..and that’s when the real trouble begins.  Suddenly, a molehill of a problem becomes a mountain. They can’t remember how their problems started, and they certainly don’t know how they are going to remedy the situation.

As an employer, it’s a fine line you walk in trying to help them. But if it’s affecting a key employee and your team’s morale, it’s important that you deal with the issue. I think the best advice you can offer is to suggest they put together a plan of action with three steps. This should be for their eyes only.

First – have them write down ALL of their problems and when/how they began.

Second – write down the current status of the problems–putting them in priority order, from most important to least important.

Third – have them write down possible solutions to their problems. There should be more than one solution to each problem because, as we know, things don’t always go according to plan. Additonally, and this is a key point, make sure each solution has a deadline. Some of the bigger problems will take longer to fix. Those problems should have milestones so the person can see the progress they are making in resolving their issues.

Once they have the plan in place, they are ready to confront their problems. Hopefully, some of their fear of the unknown has been removed. Take the negative energy of stress, anxiety and fear and turn it into a positive force that will help them overcome some of these problems. They may not be able to change or remove all of their issues, but at least they may start dealing with them. Be prepared to give them one or two days off to implement solutions if it requires some personal time.

This investment of time will make them appreciate you as a boss, and your team morale will improve because you have shown that you can handle employees’ personal issues in a neutral, fair and h

“Never bear more than one trouble at a time. Some people bear three kinds – all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have.” ~ Edward Everett Hale

About Brian Moran

Prior to rejoining the world of entrepreneurship, Brian was the Executive Director of Sales Development at the Wall Street Journal where he oversaw the sales development and marketing programs for the financial and small business categories among the many Journal brands. From 2002-2010, Brian was President of Veracle Media and Moran Media Group.

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