While not everything in the work environment can always be controlled, as an employer you are definitely not powerless, even if you and your employees are stuck in a complicated situation. Creating ways in which workplace stress can be managed does not always equate to enormous changes.

The effects of excessive stress in the workplace

When your employees feel overwhelmed in the workplace, they become withdrawn, demotivated and irritable and they can lose confidence. Other symptoms of workplace stress include:

• Feelings of anxiety and depression

• Headaches and muscle tension

• Fatigue

• Lack of concentration

• Apathy and loss of interest

• Sleeping problems

• Alcohol or drug abuse

This can result in decreased productivity and effectiveness and can make your employees’ work less stimulating and rewarding. If these signs of workplace stress are ignored, bigger problems other than job performance issues can arise such as chronic illness and emotional health problems. Causes of workplace stress can include:

• Fear of retrenchment

• Increased overtime

• Constant pressure to perform at top levels

• Pressure to meet rising expectations with no job satisfaction

Combating workplace stress by improving emotional intelligence

When it comes to workplace satisfaction and success, emotional intelligence is just as important as the ability to perform intellectually. Emotional intelligence is all about effective communication between staff members so that differences can be overcome, wounded feelings can be repaired and stress and tension can be diffused.

Important emotional intelligence skills

In order to raise emotional intelligence levels and manage stress among your employees, there are certain key skills that your employees need to master:

• Recognising when they are stressed and which measures can be taken to calm and re-energise them again.

• Staying connected to their internal emotional experiences in order to manage their emotions appropriately so that they are able to communicate with others effectively.

• Recognising and using body language and non-verbal cues. Non-verbal signals such as facial expressions, posture, tone of voice and eye contact can send out powerful messages. They will need to learn to read and respond to these non-verbal cues appropriately.

• Resolving conflict in positive and constructive ways to build trust as well as relieve tension and stress among colleagues.

Emotional intelligence courses

As an employer, it is not always easy to manage staff members from a business perspective as well as from an emotional perspective, yet the emotional health of your employees can make a huge impact on their productivity, and therefore, the success of your business. It has become apparent that employees with high levels of emotional intelligence are the most successful in their careers and make significantly higher contributions to a company’s bottom line. A great way to increase the emotional intelligence levels of your staff is by offering your employees training courses. There are several companies that are specialised in facilitating emotional intelligence workshops and studies have shown that these courses yield great return on investment which explains their increasing popularity.

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