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I’m sure you have come to the conclusion that tension and stress is unavoidable, and it is a fact of life in the workplace. While there are health concerns that can arise if one gets too frazzled, stress will always be prevalent in one or way or another, so we can choose to ignore it and get even more stressed out, or we can embrace it.

Too much stress
does reduce the ability to work productively, but too little tension encourages complacency in not only yourself but your team members.

The key is to handle stress in a way that can help you achieve success. It is part of the manager’s role to manage the stress levels of the work group so people are able to perform their work smoothly.

If you view stress as a challenge to overcome, you’ll have a more positive outlook and will get more accomplished. Choose to believe that you can manage stress and this will allow you to quickly solve the problem before it gets out of control. It really all does come down to how you perceive the situation.

On the same token, you need to make sure you address conflicts and proactively deal with obstacles, or you run the risk of creating too high of tension levels for your staff.

Here are some items to be aware of when it comes to tension in the workplace:

  • Identify and prioritize longstanding or unresolved conflicts within your team. Develop a strategy to address them. People may welcome the opportunity to talk openly about issues that have been simmering and will have excellent ideas for solving them.
  • Look especially at your entire planning process. Is it collaborative so that team members are more likely to be committed to your plans? Are there contingencies in place for the inevitable crises? Do plans and contingencies get reviewed or modified often enough?
  • Notice if there are things in the work environment that you can change. Not all problems require financial or upper-management solutions; many can be resolved through addressing them creatively.
  • Focus attention on the areas where you’ll get the most leverage. Too many changes may make the work environment unstable, and people may find it difficult to focus because they’re trying to do too many new things.

Make sure that you challenge and influence your direct reports to perform at higher levels. In other words, use tension for positive purposes, not negative.