High to severe stress can have unpredictable effects on your team’s wellbeing.

Use these 6 ways to help support your team.

1. Stay connected

Stress may affect each person in your team differently.

You need to be aware of how to support the individual needs of each staff member.

To be aware of how stress affects each of your staff, stay connected with them.

Find out what their preferred method of communication is and set up a regular catch up.

For example, if a person likes a weekly email check in, set a reminder in your calendar to send that email each week.

Or, if a person likes face to face time, set up a weekly 1-on-1 catch up.

2. Know the warning signs

But staying connected isn’t enough.

You also need to know what the warning signs are when your staff are talking with you.

Be aware of things like:

  • a drop in work quality
  • admissions of feeling overwhelmed or angry
  • changes in behaviour from non-crisis times
  • increases in unexplained absences
  • withdrawing from team activity or communication

If you see these signs, think about ways to support your team member.

Or, speak with your HR team or access your organisation’s employee support program. This may be called EAP.

3. Focus on what your team can control

In times of high to severe stress, we may feel we can’t control everything that’s happening.

When a team feels like they’re not in control, this can impact wellbeing.

Help your team focus on what they can control such as:

  • accessing internal and external supports
  • considering resources required
  • eating well
  • exercising daily
  • explore ways to manage constraints
  • getting enough sleep
  • having a daily routine
  • resetting priorities
  • taking time to relax or do activities that give them pleasure

But keep in mind, in the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic these things may not always be in their control.

4. Acknowledge individual experiences

You can’t control everything in times of high to severe stress, but you can acknowledge the experiences of your team.

Take the time to listen to what issues each person in your team has.

Ask them what they need from you to help them.

Show your support and acknowledge what they tell you.

5. Know your limits

Even you have limits with how you can help.

If an issue seems too big for you to handle, seek outside help.

Remember you need your team member’s permission to discuss their issues with others. Unless you think they may be a danger to themselves or others.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.  Effective managers seek out support and resources.

Some ideas of what you can do are:

  • speak with your manager
  • speak with your HR team
  • access your organisation’s employee support program, which may be called EAP

You can also encourage your team member to seek out professional support, such as their own healthcare provider.

To help them access these services, let them know they can take sick leave or use time at work to focus on self-care.

6. Take care of yourself

In times of stress, it’s easy for you as a manager to forget about yourself!

You’re human too, so check out Caring for yourself for what you can do.