Reducing Stress: Taking Charge of Your Job/Career

Reducing stress overload at work is similar to the approach we used with our personal life. It mainly involves analysis through prioritization. However, whether or not you are a manager (or supervisor) of others will be pivotal in your overload reduction strategy at work.

In today’s work world, thousands of people, some of them only a few years out of school, are promoted and asked to manage the work of others without any prior or subsequent training. Often the promotion is awarded on the basis of the fine work the individual did as a solo contributor. Management brings with it dozens of challenges, and unfortunately, few people are innately equipped to perform those functions adequately without good modeling and instruction.

The art and science of delegating is one of the most important ingredients in managing effectively.

The art and science of delegating is one of the most important ingredients in managing effectively. By far, the single greatest factor in reducing overload for managers is their willingness and ability to delegate. Many excellent workers drown in management because they hang on to such beliefs as ”I can do the job faster/better than anyone else” or “I just can’t trust anyone else to do it correctly” or “by the time I show her how to do it, I might as well have done it myself anyway.” These sentiments are poison to management success.

If you are in management and feeling overloaded, chances are very good that you are not delegating effectively. If you don’t believe that, at least go to several people you trust with whom you work closely (your subordinates are candidates for this, as well as management colleagues) and ask them to tell you honestly how they rate your ability and willingness to delegate.

Delegating is also your greatest tool in relieving your work overload. So even if you are already delegating, you may want to pump it up even more. It is a skill that can be learned like any other. Many good training programs exist for building your delegating skill. If you do not have access to these programs at your worksite, check with the human resources or training department at your company about public programs you might attend. If no training is available to you, there are also many good management primers that have whole chapters devoted to delegation. There are even a few books that address delegating exclusively. This presupposes, of course, that you are willing to put these new ideas into practice and let go of the old beliefs about how you are the only person in the universe who could possibly do the job right!