Coping with workplace stress: It’s not all yoga and bean bags…

Workers perform better and are more resilient when employers are good listeners

A new study conducted by researchers from Rice University explored how bosses can foster more resiliency among their employees.  According to their findings, bosses that actively listen to their employees and encourage on-the-job training are the most likely to create a culture of resiliency among their workers.

Knowing that you have a leader who is focused on learning and not just on performance outcomes is critical

“Understanding what organizations can do to help employees become more resilient is the focus of our work in my Working Resilience Research Laboratory,” said researcher Danielle King. “This research project offered an opportunity to uncover the important role of leadership and employee voice in the resilience process.”

For the study, the researchers analyzed boss-employee interactions from nearly 50 different teams from five Canadian start-ups. The team paid close attention to what kind of environment leaders fostered among their employees and how different workplace cultures handled things like making mistakes, learning new things, and communicating.

While everyone makes mistakes at work, how bosses handled their employees’ mistakes said a lot about the team’s overall resiliency. The researchers learned that employees felt the best in their roles and were more likely to put in the most effort when their bosses were encouraging and attentive listeners. When employees felt that they had a voice in conversations with their bosses, it was associated with the best workplace outcomes…

Coping with workplace stress: It’s not all yoga and bean bags…

Let’s start with a definition of stress: “The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.”

“Employers: if all your workers need resilience training then the problem isn’t with the workers.”

To me, this suggests a balance between the pressures we all experience and our individual ability to cope with them, without having an adverse reaction. The pressures we all experience come from home, from work; some are imposed by other things, some we place on ourselves. Pressures also change with time and our circumstances.

Our ability to cope is also multi-faceted and depends on our skills, previous experience and the support we have in place. We often call this our resilience – and it can change from day to day depending on our circumstances…

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