Mental Health

15 Strategies For Managing An Over-Stressed Team

Challenging times come and go but an effective leader can inspire their team and guide them to deliver results. Learn how to support your team and keep them motivated and productive with these proven strategies.

By URLife Team
22 Apr 2023

To lead a team during tough times can be a daunting task, especially when stress and emotion run high. As a manager, it's your responsibility to keep your team motivated while managing their stress levels. As people are losing work-life balance, stress becomes inevitable. However, there are several effective ways to manage your team's stress and help them navigate through difficult times. 


A leader’s role is not just limited to leading, managing and directing a team. They are also responsible for ensuring the mental and physical well-being of their team.. Work and stress come hand in hand. It is a leader’s job to come up with strategies to mitigate stress and lead a productive team. A team laden with stress can never bring their true selves to work and this, eventually, hampers the company’s performance. 


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Factors That Can Increase Stress

Use of negative language: Language is a powerful tool that can convey our emotions and thoughts. The words we choose to use can indicate our mental and emotional state to others, regardless of our intentions. As a result, it's crucial for leaders to be mindful of the language they use when discussing their business strategy, particularly in written communication. Negative words and euphemisms can trigger anxiety and worry, which can have a negative impact on team morale. Instead, it's best to use positive language that promotes hope and optimism. This can help create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone involved.


Related story: Learn Stress Management With UR.Life To Combat Micro-stress


Times of Uncertainty: In times of unpredictability and uncertainty, it's important for leaders to provide a sense of consistency and stability for their team. People tend to feel anxious and stressed when they can't predict what will happen next. Therefore, leaders should aim to avoid being an additional stressor by acting in a predictable and reliable way. This can mean providing clear expectations and avoiding last-minute changes or cancellations. By maintaining a routine and structure, leaders can provide a sense of stability for their team during times of change or crisis. This can ultimately help to reduce stress and anxiety levels and create a more positive work environment.


Related story: Simple Ways To Avoid Work Stress At Home


Projecting personal stress: Leaders who do not offer any emotional support can create a stressful environment for their team. Managing your emotions and putting on a calm front can help reduce your team's stress levels. This may be challenging, but it's important to work on controlling your reactions to pressure. If you typically have a calm demeanour, try to maintain that during a crisis. A good leader is one who sets an example for their employees and helps them manage their emotions and stress effectively. They understand that a happy and motivated team leads to increased productivity and better results. As a result, they teach their team various strategies, such as mindfulness and self-care, to cope with stress and maintain a positive outlook. By demonstrating a positive attitude and practising these strategies themselves, they encourage their team to do the same. This leads to a harmonious and successful work environment where everyone can thrive.


Related story: A Guide On Anger Management


Lack of support: Managers who are excessively pessimistic can have a negative impact on their team, especially during stressful times. While pessimism can help leaders identify potential threats and minimise risks, projecting this onto others can increase anxiety levels and demotivate team members. Remember that leadership is about providing support and resources to others, not about your personal feelings. Additionally, it's important to consider that your team may already expect a certain level of optimism from you during uncertain times, and may interpret overly negative messages as even worse than they actually are.


Related story: Overthinking: How Much Is Too Much?


Gaslighting your team: Gaslighting can create a toxic work environment where employees feel unsupported, undervalued, and demoralised. Managers or team leaders who engage in gaslighting can erode the trust and respect that team members have for them, causing conflicts and misunderstandings. Role conflict is another source of gaslighting in the workplace. When team members are assigned conflicting tasks, goals, or priorities, they may feel confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Gaslighting can exacerbate these feelings by making them doubt their own abilities or judgement. Gaslighting has no place in any workplace and managers should take steps to prevent and address this behaviour. Leaders should promote a culture of openness, honesty, and respect, where team members feel safe to express their opinions, share their concerns, and ask for help.


Related story: Steps You Can Take When You Are Overthinking


Studies show that emotional intelligence (EQ) plays a crucial role in developing empathy. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that emotional intelligence was positively associated with empathy and that both were predictors of well-being and life satisfaction.


Leaders with high EQ are better at understanding and influencing other people's emotions, as well as controlling their own. However, no one can suddenly increase their EQ overnight. Still, leaders can improve their willingness to understand others by monitoring people's affect, mood, and stress levels. Instead of focusing on work performance and productivity, it's more important to check in on individuals' emotional states during difficult times. This can be achieved through more one-on-one meetings, frequent communication, asking open-ended questions, and showing empathy whenever possible.


To avoid increasing anxiety in others, it's important to consider how your actions impact them. As a leader, you amplify people's emotions. By doing things right, you can bring out the best in people even during challenging times. 


Related story: 7 Signs You Need To Take Break For Your Mental Health


Ways to Manage Your Team’s Stress

1. Encourage work-life balance. Make sure your team members have time to rest, relax and engage in activities outside of work.

2. Promote open communication. Encourage your team to express their concerns and listen actively to their ideas and feedback.

3. Set realistic expectations. Don't set unrealistic goals or deadlines that may cause unnecessary stress.

4. Provide resources for stress management. Offer access to tools and resources such as yoga classes, mindfulness sessions, or mental health counselling.

5. Foster a positive work culture. Encourage positivity and team-building activities that help build relationships and reduce stress.

6. Show appreciation. Acknowledge your team members' hard work and achievements, and provide positive feedback regularly.

7. Be flexible. Allow your team members to have some control over their work schedule and allow for flexible working arrangements.

8. Encourage breaks. Encourage your team to take breaks throughout the day to refresh and recharge.

9. Provide opportunities for growth and development. Offer training and development opportunities that help your team members feel valued and motivated.

10. Lead by example. Demonstrate good stress management practices by taking care of yourself and managing your own stress.

11. Address conflict. Address any conflicts within the team in a timely and constructive manner.

12. Offer support. Be all ears. You should be available to listen and offer support when your team members need it.

13. Encourage physical activity. Promote physical activity and healthy living through initiatives like walking meetings or offering gym memberships.It will also help in boosting the morale of your team.

14. Encourage laughter. Laughter is an effective way to reduce stress and build relationships, so try to incorporate some fun activities into your workday with your team.

15. Create a safe and supportive environment. Ensure that your workplace is free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment, and provide a supportive and inclusive environment for all team members. Also ensure that your company follows a meritocratic policy.


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Gauging your team’s stress levels and helping them cope is essential as a leader. With the UR.Life Corporate Wellness programme, we help you to invest in the well-being of your people through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your team’s well-being. We empower them to to bring their whole self to work.

With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life’s Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications and advice to you.


Click here to learn more about the UR.Life Corporate Wellness programme and unlock better health. 



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