Coping With the Stress of Being a Supervisor

Coping With the Stress of Being a Supervisor

COPING WITH THE STRESS OF BEING A SUPERVISOR A Deer Oaks Presentation Why Did You Accept This Role? This workshop examines the many stresses of being a good supervisor, and helps participants identify effective ways of coping. It is important to identify your reasons for accepting this position in the first

place. On a piece of paper, write down the top 5 reasons why you accepted the role of Some Questions To Ask Yourself Did I chose this role or was it chosen for me? Was I ready to perform in this position before I accepted it? Did I seek relevant training and preparation? Who were my mentors and how did they help? Was I drawn only to the power of the position?

Do I accept and embrace this role, or do I see it as one unending source of stress and Typical + Additional Stresses Supervisors face many of the typical job-related stressors that all employees have to deal with on a daily basis. Additionally, there are sources of stress that are peculiar to their supervisory role. Some of the typical sources of stress will be identified in the next two

slides. Typical Sources of Job Stress* 1. The design of tasks, e.g., long work hours, heavy workload, inadequate work breaks, shift work. 2. Management style, e.g., different styles of decision-making and communication, poor work-family life balance. 3. Interpersonal relationships, e.g., not enough support, conflictual

Typical Sources of Job Stress* 4. Work roles, e.g., too much responsibility, uncertain role expectations, conflicting job roles, rigid job demarcations. 5. Career concerns, e.g., few opportunities for growth, advancement, and/or promotion, job insecurity, rapid changes. 6. Environmental conditions, e.g., limited resources, unpleasant or * Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health dangerous work conditions,

Role-specific Sources of Stress While supervisors face the stresses that all other employees also face, there are additional sources of stress that are peculiar to the role of being a supervisor. It is important first to identify these other stressors, and then find ways of coping. Effective supervisors are those who Additional Sources of

Stress 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Handling the stresses of others. Trying to please everyone. Caught in the middle. The buck stops here.

Communication nightmares. Productivity demands. Delegating responsibility. Maintaining team spirit. 1. Handling Stress of Others One additional source of stress for supervisors is the expectation of having to intervene on behalf of other staff. Complaints are often shifted upward, and this can become a source of stress.

The supervisor is often expected to deal with and/or reduce the stress that subordinates are 2. Trying To Please Everyone It is the responsibility of a supervisor to try to meet the needs of subordinates. However, sometimes this conflicts with meeting the needs of significant others. The supervisor may again feel blamed when different and/or colliding needs

How To Cope First, accept that you cannot please everyone. Establish a norm that subordinates come to you not only with complaints but also with suggested solutions.

Sometimes people just want to be heard: Never underestimate the power of active listening. Remain supportive even if you cannot fix the problem. 3. Caught in the Middle There is the further problem of feeling caught between the demands of upper management, and those of subordinates. This is a major source of stress for most supervisors: How to make management happy while also trying

to meet the needs of subordinates. Supervisors often called middle 4. The Buck Stops Here Supervisors also face the challenges that come with being the person who is responsible for operations.

If anything goes wrong, its generally the supervisors responsibility to fix it, or to make sure that it gets fixed. With responsibility often comes How To Cope Remind yourself that you chose to accept this position and that you are qualified to do your job. Part of the responsibility of your position is to find ways to translate managements vision into a language that subordinates can relate to.

Join with others in similar positions and share solutions and problem-solving techniques. Find a mentor with whom you can have 5. Communication Nightmares Trying to communicate with all of your co-workers can be difficult because of: Shift and schedule differences. Part-time vs. full-time status (i.e., availability). Misinterpretations of email messages.

Replacing face-to-face discussions with emails. People feeling excluded or out of the loop. Differences in literacy or education levels. 6. Productivity Demands For many supervisors, the need to remain productive does not lessen with the responsibilities of supervision. Indeed, many supervisors spend their days putting out so many fires that they only get their own work done after hours. This makes for longer, stress-filled days. Plus, supervisors are often expected to be

role-models of productivity for subordinates, which means that they can never fall behind. How To Cope As much as possible, encourage face to face discussions.

Hold regular staff meetings; use the available technology to include everyone (e.g., telephone). Intervene early to resolve conflicts. Better still, empower subordinates to solve their own issues. Take a course in time management to help you work effectively; learn how to work 7. Delegating Responsibility The role of a supervisor usually includes assigning tasks and duties to subordinates.

A possible source of stress may be the perception by subordinates that tasks are not assigned fairly or appropriately. This may in turn trigger passive resistance and a lack of cooperation from 8. Maintaining Team Spirit Together Each Achieves More. The role of the supervisor is to make sure that a group of employees functions as an effective team. A possible source of stress can stem from the various negative roles that team members sometimes play.

It is the supervisors job to validate subordinates concerns while maintaining positive team spirit. How To Cope Be fair and remain consistent dont play favorites. Dont delegate only those tasks that you dont enjoy doing this creates resentment. Be a team player yourself. Take care of and look out for your people. Use your EAP to run team-building workshops. Allow others to shine as well.

Coping With The Role 1. Embrace the responsibility of your position. 2. How you define your role will affect how you experience it define your role as consisting of positive challenges that you can continually learn from. Avoid negative role definitions. 3. Enroll in programs to help you perform better. 4. Seek extra training when you can read, take classes, and invest in your professional growth. 5. Find and use a good mentor who can guide

you through the learning process. Coping With Your Stress 1. Remember to balance your work and 2. 3. 4. 5. family life: A recent study suggests that the work-life balance is a key issue in hiring managers.

Take your job seriously but dont get married to it. Join social clubs and develop interests outside of the job. Eat well, exercise often, and get enough rest. Seek professional help to quit smoking, or to avoid becoming reliant on caffeine or alcohol. Bond With Others 1. When you first become a supervisor, try to be as helpful and as supportive to others as possible this buys you some

idiosyncrasy credits (brownie points) that you can cash in on later when needed. 2. But dont bond with subordinates by making upper management the common enemy. 3. Respect the boundaries of your position. 4. Seek support from other supervisors/managers. 5. Maintain healthy communication with A Balancing Act It is clear that the role of the supervisor requires an incredible balancing act.

Good supervisors remain so by finding effective ways of coping with the stress of multiple demands from a variety of sources. It helps to clarify the different areas of responsibility associated with your position. Avoid taking things personally on the job; react always in a professional manner. Avoid gossip and practice confidentiality. Thank you for your participation. This has been a presentation of Deer Oaks EAP

Services. Contact us at 1-866-327-2400 if you need more information. m A resource you can trust.

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