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Dealing With Stress as a Manager

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From developing your team to making your own tough decisions, being a manager naturally comes with a lot of stress. The days when you can sit back and relax are rare. Instead, you may find yourself rushing from one project to the next, sometimes working with employees who are unpleasant, unmotivated, or disengaged. Here’s how you can deal with all the stress and keep your career and your life on track.

Recognise Stress When It Happens
What causes stress for one manager may not faze the next in the slightest. So, it is important to recognise stress when it happens to you. If you want to find out where the stress is coming from, start by noticing these common signs:

  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal upsets
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Tense muscles
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Frequent minor illnesses and infections
  • Moodiness
  • A feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Low self-esteem
  • Clenched jaw
  • Avoiding other people

If you notice that stress is becoming a problem for you, you can talk to a family member or friend, a peer or a counsellor in your local community. When you do, you can address the source of the stress, discover the effects it’s having on you, and learn new ways to overcome it.

Self-Help Techniques to Deal with Your Stress
Take a deep dive into all your personal issues surrounding the stress you are feeling. You can also learn techniques you can use at home and on the job to reduce stress. The following are some of the ways you can help yourself:

Create a Clutter-Free Environment
Commit to keeping your work-space orderly. Demand the same of the employees you manage. A cluttered environment is a stressful one. While many team members will personalise their workspace, it’s a good idea to temper individuality with neatness. That’s true for your own workspace and the areas you share with others.

Take Relaxation Breaks
Busy managers often work full speed all the time, never allowing themselves to relax at work. Yet, taking a few moments to relax now and then can boost your productivity dramatically. Consider learning relaxation techniques to do on the job, such as deep breathing or systematic muscle relaxation.

In the meantime, make sure you are taking short breaks from your work. Even if it’s just spending a few moments flipping through a magazine, going for a walk outside or making a cuppa. Getting your mind off your work briefly can renew your energy and restore your mental clarity.

Know Where Your Responsibility Ends
One of the hardest things for a manager to do is to release themselves of personal responsibility for everything that happens under their watch. You need to find it within yourself to leave some tasks in the hands of the people you are managing. Check in on them, certainly. But at the same time, it’s important to let them be in charge of their own work whenever they can. And, when you have met your responsibilities, leave room for others to meet their own.

Get Moving
Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits:

  • It pumps up your endorphins.Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion.After a fast-paced game of squash or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements.  As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
  • It improves your mood.Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Being a manager can be exciting and rewarding work. Don’t let stress spoil it for you. Instead, learn how to deal with stress in your own way. And, if you need help doing that, allow yourself the freedom to seek assistance to protect your physical and mental health. Then, when you have your stress under control, your work will become much more pleasant and productive.

About the Author

This month’s guest blogger, Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of free online mental health resources, including free online therapy with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.



About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers. 

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