Equipping Managers and Employees to Handle Stressful Work Situations

A new video series on Calm by stress and burnout expert Chibs Okereke helps managers and individual contributors navigate difficult work situations for less stress and better engagement.

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The Calm Team

4 min read

Record numbers of employees worldwide are stressed and disengaged with their work, according to Gallup’s study on workplace culture. “Quiet quitters” represent 59% of today’s global workforce, it found. When asked what they would change about their workplace, 41% of quiet quitters said they wished their managers “were more approachable, and we could talk openly.” By comparison, only 28% of quiet quitters said they wished for better pay and benefits, and just 16% said they would like to work from home more.

Employees need more from their managers, but managers are struggling, too. In fact, managers are more likely than individual contributors to be disengaged and burned out. And when managers can’t serve as the glue for team collaboration and performance, employee engagement suffers and stress rises

Tools to help managers and individual contributors navigate stressful work situations

Clearly there’s an opportunity to equip both managers and individual contributors with tools to better navigate difficult situations in the workplace that can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout. 

That’s what Calm’s new video series by stress and burnout expert Chibs Okereke is designed to do. “Moments that Matter” is an 8-part workplace stress program that serves as a playbook for navigating common work situations likely to create stress and anxiety. Developed and narrated by Okereke, the series offers practical tools and strategies to help managers and individual contributors succeed in a range of scenarios, including being a first-time manager, delivering difficult feedback, and protecting their time. 

Chibs Okereke is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) facilitator and former CEO and Founder. After experiencing severe burnout that had a disastrous effect on his mental health, Okereke left the corporate world to reset, recover, and repair the damage, he says. During that time, he discovered practical, scientifically validated tools to overcome stress, anxiety, difficult emotions, and negative thinking. He now specializes in helping organizations, teams, and individuals reduce and manage stress and burnout.

In each bite-sized Moments that Matter video, Okereke fuses mindfulness with psychology and management tools and provides inspiring examples and concrete takeaways for employees to apply.

The 8 video sessions in Moments that Matter with Chibs Okereke

Programs for Managers

  • Building Rapport as a First-time Manager
    When it comes to managing a team, first impressions matter a lot. Chibs offers managers a simple but effective playbook to build positive rapport with each member of their new team.
  • Recognizing and Addressing Stress in Others
    Left unaddressed, an employee’s stress can escalate to more serious mental or physical health conditions. It also can affect the broader team. Chibs offers managers guidance on how to address the situation in a compassionate and effective manner.

Programs for Managers and Individual Contributors

  • Starting Something New
    It’s natural to feel a bit nervous about a new manager, a new role, or a new project. But when negative thoughts start to spiral and play on repeat, it’s critical to reframe them and calm the anxious mind. Chibs shows individual contributors and managers how to do that in three easy steps.
  • Delivering Difficult Feedback
    Giving feedback is a pivotal part of creating a healthy workplace but can be really uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing. Chibs walks managers through four simple steps to deliver constructive feedback to employees or anyone else in the workplace.
  • Tapping into Deeper Motivation 
    Nearly half of employees describe their work as boring, which means they’re likely less engaged with their work and less satisfied with their jobs. Chibs offers managers and individual contributors an exercise to help them get to the “why” of their jobs and feel better about their day-to-day responsibilities.
  • Protecting Your Time at Work
    Meetings, chatty colleagues, and birthday parties are just a few of the things that can disrupt us and hamper work productivity on a daily basis. Saying no isn’t the easiest thing to do but Chibs guides the way with a simple three-step process for setting boundaries.
  • Moving Through Team Changes
    Change is hard. It’s also a constant in most workplaces. And no matter what kind of change is underway, it’s bound to heighten stress. Rather than battle against change, employees can relieve the stress that comes with it by focusing on the right things, Chibs explains.
  • Working with Difficult Stakeholders
    It’s nearly impossible to avoid difficult situations with colleagues or superiors, but we can learn how to respond rather than react. Chibs offers a simple process for defusing situations with others before they gain momentum.

Managers, stress, and employee engagement are tightly linked

Managers play a critical role in both employee mental well-being and engagement. In Calm’s survey of 4,000+ workers, 65% of respondents said their manager has a significant influence on their mental health. A calm and supportive manager can help to improve their mental health, for example, while a reactive manager can have a negative impact. In the same vein, managers account for 70% variance in employee engagement, and engaged employees report significantly lower stress

As organizations navigate the restructuring of teams, reduced budgets, and new hybrid/remote work environments, managers and individual contributors need more support to strengthen their workplace relationships and handle stressful situations. Providing practical tools to help them communicate more openly, compassionately, and effectively with each other, and to practice mindfulness in difficult moments, can help reduce workplace stress and improve employee engagement. 

For more information on supporting the mental well-being of managers and individual contributors, connect with a Calm specialist today

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