CEO Today - May 2022

VISION & STRATEGY 47 teachable moments. This paves the way for your employees to feel safe to make mistakes and learn from them as well. Ask for help We often think we have to go through work alone and that asking for help is a sign of weakness. There is great strength in asking for help. It says, “I value others.” Whether you need help completing a project or are curious about outside resources that could benefit your company, asking for help shows strength and selfawareness. When leaders ask for help, they signal to employees that it is acceptable to ask for help as well. This model behaviour can help lessen stress simply by “granting permission” to ask for help when needed. Create a safe work environment What you say as a leader is just as important as what you do. Employees want to feel psychologically safe in their work environments. To feel comfortable speaking up when they have an idea or notice an error, they need to feel as if they will be taken seriously. Fear of reprimand or damage to the ego/reputation, are the primary causes for disengaged and stressed-out employees. Encourage your team to speak openly and honestly and in return, emulate this behaviour. Ask team members to bring their true selves to the workplace, not just a filtered idealistic version of how they “think” others want them to be. Acknowledge Stress Transparency is a great tool to help employees feel psychologically safe. Knowing what to expect and when gives individuals a perceived sense of control. And control typically equals comfort to some degree. Therefore, as a leader, you must acknowledge stress within the company exists and offer proactive ways to manage the stress such as prioritising, time management and delegating. Training and help in these areas should be provided to support your team members Support Employee Development When you invest time and effort into your employees’ futures, you are demonstrating you value their contributions. Routinely set up time and space for employees to develop their own career trajectories and training plans. Provide resources to help them meet their goals. Career advancement is not just for human resources, it is for leaders to act as mentors, helping their team members get to the next step to fulfil their potential. Encourage Time Off In our competitive society, everyone feels the need to be “on” all the time. Whether it is after work hours, during vacation, or in the middle of the weekend, most professionals have a tough time not checking their work email. To help minimise employee stress, encourage team members to take time off and use their PTO or holiday time as a way to refresh and recharge. Clearly articulate the fact that time off isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather a necessary component to ensure peak productivity.

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