Stress basics (10)
- Stress assessment: Rate your stress level
- Stress symptoms: Effects on your body, feelings and behavior
- How to be happy: Tips for cultivating contentment
- see all in Stress basics
Stress relief (23)
- Stress relief from laughter? Yes, no joke
- Spirituality and stress relief: Make the connection
- Need stress relief? Try the four A's
- see all in Stress relief
Relaxation techniques (9)
- Massage: Get in touch with its many benefits
- Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity
- Tai chi: A gentle way to fight stress
- see all in Relaxation techniques
Improve your supervisor relationship and reduce stress
You can reduce workplace stress by creating and maintaining a good relationship with your supervisor. Here's how.By Mayo Clinic staff
Do you have differences of opinion and style with your manager? You can learn to accept these differences and work with them to reduce your workplace stress.
How to get along with your supervisor
No matter where you are on the corporate ladder, it's to your advantage to get along well with your supervisor. Your relationship with your supervisor is probably the most important one you have at work. Having a positive relationship with your supervisor usually means you're more satisfied with the work you do and have less stress.
Your boss can be a key supporter in helping you achieve your long-term career goals. He or she knows your company's goals and knows what the company looks for in future managers and leaders.
You usually can't change your boss's behavior, but you can nurture the quality of the relationship. Here are some tips to keep the relationship positive.
- Show respect. Even if your boss hasn't yet won your loyalty, he or she is still entitled to your respect. Your boss is responsible for your work and the work of your colleagues. That can be a significant burden. Try to understand the business from your boss's perspective. Try to treat him or her with the respect the position and the responsibility warrant.
- Don't be afraid of your boss. Some supervisors can be intimidating, but remember, your boss needs you. Your performance is often key to the success of your boss.
- Do your best. Try to live up to the performance expectations set for your job. In doing your best, you'll gain greater satisfaction from your work, earn your supervisor's trust and help the organization achieve its goals.
- Give honest feedback. Your supervisor needs you to be honest and direct, even if it's unpleasant — and you may have valuable information or questions for your supervisor. Of course, temper your honesty with diplomacy. Choose your words wisely and use a gentle tone. Both should promote and contribute to an environment of mutual respect.
- Don't try to hide problems. First, try to solve the problem. If you can't and the problem becomes serious, let your supervisor know as soon as possible. Offer solutions and ask for additional recommendations. Ask for help or additional training if you need it. Don't let your boss find out about the problem from someone else.
- Break important news fast. If you become seriously ill, need to have surgery or need time off for a family leave, inform your boss as soon as possible. This gives him or her time to cover your absence.
- Maintain your boundaries. Remember to keep your business relationships about business. However close you may be with your supervisor, he or she is still the boss, and at times that means making unpopular or difficult decisions.
- Be positive. When things go wrong, a positive attitude means a lot to people who work with you, including your boss. Communicate with questions or suggestions, rather than complaints. Volunteer suggestions to mitigate the problem, and don't be offended if they're not always implemented.
- Manage your anger. Blowing up in front of your manager solves nothing, but demonstrates clearly that you can't control your emotions. This doesn't mean you have to sit and stew when you're angry. But learn how to communicate your anger appropriately. If anger management is difficult for you, sign up for a course to help you deal with it.
- Embrace your strengths. Recognize your own talents and nurture them. Seek out tasks that take advantage of your skills.
- Face your shortcomings. You can't be skilled in everything you do. Ask your supervisor for advice to help you grow in areas where you're weak. Inquire about training or courses that could help you improve your skills. Take his or her advice and make an honest effort to improve.
- Say thanks for recognition. If your boss tells you that you're good at something or have done an excellent job on a project, thank him or her and take it to heart.
Are your work styles compatible?
Managers have differing styles when it comes to supervising work. Some use a hands-off approach and prefer to coach or mentor, while others closely supervise your work in greater detail, sometimes even to the point of micromanaging.
The hands-off approach gives you freedom to do your work with minimal supervision, while closer supervision minimizes uncertainty and clarifies expectations. Neither style is appropriate for every job or every worker. You may need more of your boss's input and close supervision to do your best, or you may do better working independently. Whenever there's a mismatch between the amount of supervision you want and the amount you get, you'll feel stressed.
A solution may be found by talking to your supervisor to determine if he or she is open to adjusting the level of supervision you receive. Also, if your company offers a continuing education course in communicating across personality or management styles, consider signing up for it. You'll learn about yourself and how to work successfully with people who have different styles.Next page
(1 of 2)
- Tulgan B. It's OK to manage your boss. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass; 2010.
- Cloke K, et al. Resolving Conflicts at Work: Eight Strategies for Everyone on the Job. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass; 2005.
- Katz DL. Win at Work! The Everybody Wins Approach to Conflict Resolution. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons Inc.; 2010.
- Overwhelmed by workplace stress? You're not alone. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/work-stress.aspx. Accessed May 30, 2012.
- Stress in the workplace. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/workplace-stress.aspx. Accessed May 30, 2012.
- Managing your boss. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/boss.aspx. Accessed May 30, 2012.
- Costello J, et al. Working together to build a respectful workplace: Transforming OR culture. AORN Journal. 2011;93:115.