Stress is draining the energy, productivity and profits out of companies all over the world. Stress, often called the “plague of modern day society,” causes more than one million U.S. workers per day to miss work. It’s no wonder that there is a wellness revolution going on and many companies are beginning to pay serious attention!

Workers who are overly stressed begin to spiral downward over time and the result is fatigue and eventually burnout. Good employees must be kept at all costs due to the war for talent and the huge deficit of strong leadership. In previous newsletters and articles (posted on my wesite), I have mentioned the actual costs of stress and turnover, which are staggering!

What are the causes of stress in the workplace anyway? First of all, let’s be very clear that stress is self-created and is rooted in the internal conversations we have with ourselves. Stress is a learned behavior which is determined by how we react to events. When we realize stress is self-created, then we can alter our behaviors to help alleviate it. To live with or without stress is a choice!

Many business leaders I’ve coached are initially under a great deal of stress. The five categories below appear time after time in many coaching engagements. More importantly, let’s look at some different behaviors that seem to force harmful stress to run for the hills!!

Communication. If your team is not getting the results you want try this simple, but critical, communication model:
1. Provide clear expectations about the results you want to achieve.
2. Ask questions for understanding and clarity.
3. Ask for specifics on how goals, projects and tasks will be completed.
4. Review the process until you are satisfied and there is no vagueness.
5. If there is any aspect that requires additional discussion or instruction, return to step one and begin again.

Delegation. Delegation is critical today more than ever. If you tend to micro-manage, you are surely headed for frustration and burnout. You will not be able to keep up with your increased workload as downsizing continues. Also, younger workers (45% of workforce) will not tolerate it and you will lose them quickly. The message you are sending is, “I do not trust you to do your job.” They become stifled, stressed and frustrated. Delegate, delegate, delegate!

Muli-tasking. If you are jumping from task to task without prioritizing, scheduling time, or assigning time limits to each task, your productivity tanks and you begin to tire and lose control. Then stress creeps in and takes over. You can only focus fully on one thing at a time, so do not allow distractions and interruptions. Remember, it takes four times longer to complete tasks when you are multi-tasking.

Energy Management. As part of the wellness movement, developing rituals to replenish energy is critical. We all have the same amount of time, but smart people know when they need a break to reenergize and take one. Do something relaxing and/or healthy every ninety minutes to two hours and watch your productivity soar!

Work-Life Balance. All of us want to find that healthy balance between our work and personal lives, but find it very elusive. A good place to start is by practicing better communication, delegation, task management and energy rituals. Beliefs also need to be challenged in order for behavior to change. Belief drives behavior and behavior drives performance. You need to truly believe that a life outside of work is critical in order to reduce stress and be productive. Until you begin to believe that, your behaviors will never change and your performance will not improve.

I believe reducing stress in the workplace, formerly a taboo subject, will become one of the main areas of focus in the next few years. You can begin reducing your stress right now by changing your beliefs and behaviors. You must commit the time, energy and focus in order for the change to be effectual. Invest the time now!! In many cases, it takes about three weeks to change a habit. Three weeks from now, you’ll wish you started today!

For a more in-depth look at stress and the associated costs to your health and your company’s bottom line, click the link below.

Author's Bio: 

Chris Williams is a certified coach with 30 years of experience in the service industry. Chris has worked in leadership roles for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Enchantment Group and the world-famous Pink Jeep Tours. Chris is also very active in his community, volunteering his time and expertise to non-profit organizations.

Chris is the owner of Inspirational Consulting & Coaching, LLC. Chris coaches executives on what he calls "The Triple Bottom-Line," enhancing their profit margins, health and personal relationships.

Chris lives in rural Arizona with his wife of 17 years and their two beautiful daughters.