One of the major challenges managers say they have is finding enough time in the day to do everything that they need to do. They have many tasks to juggle and must balance completing their own work with monitoring and supervising the work of others.
Couple this with the current pandemic situation where some may have had to take pay-cuts, have difficult conversations with employees about redundancy or have been working from home whilst trying to home-school children.
It’s no wonder that many managers are feeling over-stretched and stressed. An over-stretched and stressed manager is not going to set a good example to their staff nor be able to manage their people in an effective manner.
To be able to manage others effectively you must first learn to manage yourself.
The first step is to understand how you react under pressure and learn strategies that help you manage yourself both in the moment and longer term.
When you understand your stress triggers you can apply techniques that help you to reduce your stress and manage pressure in an effective manner.
The 4 Ms for Managing Pressure
1. Manage Your Personal Energy: In order to perform at our best, we need to make sure that we manage our personal energy. If we neglect to replenish our energy in any of the 3 areas below, we increase the risk of reaching burnout and feeling overwhelmed.
• Physical energy – make sure you take regular short breaks throughout the day, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, learn to notice signs of flagging energy and eat healthy meals
• Mental energy – know what your priorities are, have a plan so that you are clear and focused, learn how to be present in the moment which improves clarity of thought, and reduces stress
• Emotional energy – defuse negative emotions, practice positive thought processes, develop a growth mindset to meet challenges with enthusiasm
2. Manage Your Time: Learning how to manage your time can make you more effective and reduce your stress.
• Do a time audit – look at where you’re currently spending your time. Are you spending it on the right things?
• Develop a weekly schedule making sure to focus on the high priority tasks
• List all your tasks and then categorise them – DELETE (not important or necessary), DO (important), DELEGATE (can be given to someone else) or DEFER (needs to be done but not pressing)
• Identify those time stealers and put in place strategies to manage them e.g. spend less time on social media and only check your emails at set times of the day
3. Manage Your Resilience: Resilience is the ability to bounce back from problems and stay on track, even when the going gets tough. Being resilient reduces the risk of stress and burnout and is a key mental trait of high-performing leaders.
• Practice mindfulness to reduce stress and make yourself less emotionally reactive to stressful situations
• Do one thing at a time – this makes us more effective, more productive and less stressed
• Find a coach, or speak to a friend, who can give you some perspective on your challenges
4. Maintain Your Well-Being: If you don’t look after your wellbeing, you will find it harder to perform and your work will suffer as a result. Being in good health makes it easier to deal with the pressure and challenges that you face.
• Exercise regularly to get endorphins moving around your body
• Don’t skip meals
• Make time for things you enjoy
• Spend quality time with family