May 22, 2019

If You’re Stressed Out, Don’t Take It Out On Employees

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Running a large dairy operation certainly comes with stressful moments. Low prices create financial stress as you struggle to figure out how bills are going to get paid. Extreme wet weather this spring has kept many producers out of the field, which adds another layer of anxiety. 

But it’s important for you to not allow your stress affect how you treat family members, other people on the management team and your direct reports. 

“If you’re in a high-pressure job where you’re not happy with the performance of those around you, consider if you might be part of the problem,” says Sabina Nawaz, a CEO coach who advises executives in Fortune 500 companies. In a Harvard Business Review article, she suggests turning things around by following these steps:

Listen with curiosity
Uncover the details of how you treat people. Asking your direct reports to give you honest feedback will provide insights into how they feel when working with you.

Start small
When you get feedback, don’t try to fix everything at once. Try to improve one action at least once each day.
Calibrate your responses

“Your comments and reactions are amplified because of your title,” Nawaz says. “Learn to provide perspective with your comments.” Not all of your requests carry the same level of urgency, so providing perspective can help employees prioritize when tasks should be completed.

Set expectations
“Be up front about what you need from your employees,” Nawaz says. “There are times you need to ask your team to perform tasks they won’t find enjoyable. It helps to give them a sense of scope and an understanding of why the tasks are essential so they can better anticipate how much time to allocate for the work. This will also make them less likely to complain.”

When you’re in the middle of a stressful storm, it’s hard to think clearly. People tend to react in ways they wouldn’t normally react if waters were calm. Following these steps will help you better manage stressful situations and improve the communication with your team.