4 Simple Ways to Deal With Work Stress For Managers

In this article, you’ll find out more about stress management techniques and work-life balance strategies, as well as advice from experienced tech leaders.
4 Simple Ways to Deal With Work Stress For Managers

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In order to effectively manage tech teams and deliver great software, the manager needs to develop key engineering management skills.

You can find THE FULL LIST of 8 top Engineering Management skills in 2022 in Vectorly’s article or download free skill matrix.

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Among the most important skills of a great Engineering Manager is personal skills which include the ability to learn, systematic thinking, strategic vision, decision-making, and of course organize the work and deal with stress.

In this article, you’ll find out more about stress management techniques and work-life balance strategies, as well as advice from experienced tech leaders.

Dealing with stress

Work-related stress can be caused by a variety of factors. We all have different opinions on what we consider to be stressful. However, anything that takes our body or mind out of whack is stressful.

Here is the list of most common workplace stressors:

  • Receiving no direction from the boss
  • Computer failures
  • Constant interruptions
  • Priorities constantly changing
  • Upper management constantly changing
  • Mergers
  • Downsizing
  • Reorganizations
  • Organizational politics
  • Time pressures
  • Performance pressures
  • Poor time management
  • Bringing personal problems to work
  • Working long hours for extended periods of time

The ability to handle stress at work is a skill of an effective and experienced manager. Here you will find the two types of stress release techniques:

  • Short-term practices that will help to deal with stress in the moment
  • Long-term strategies to prevent chronic stress and keep a healthy mind
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Techniques to release stress ASAP

We recommend techniques that bring short-term stress relief. If you need to deal with a stressful situation in the moment, they will definitely help you to calm down a little and clear your mind to make better decisions, even under pressure.

1. Tense and relax technique

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes
  • Tense every muscle of your body for 10 seconds
  • Relax and release tension for 20 seconds
  • Repeat 5-10 times

2. Box breathing technique

Proper breathing helps you get into a stable working rhythm.

  • Breathe in, counting to four slowly
  • Hold your breath for four seconds
  • Slowly exhale through your mouth for four seconds
  • Repeat until you feel calmer

3. Quick meditation

Practicing mindfulness is easier than you can imagine. Concentrating on your breathing or physical feelings (feel your skin touching the chair or feet stepping on the ground) helps to release stress and focus.

4. Take a 10-minute walk

If you feel stressed and unable to concentrate, a short walk will help shift attention from the problem and reduce cortisol in the system that causes stress, and clear your mind. In just 10 minutes, you’ll feel much better and ready to continue your work.

Long-term stress relief strategies

You need to take care to build your working days in such a way as to avoid stress in the long run. And here are some methods that will help with this:

  • Sharpen your time management skills
  • Know when to seek help
  • Practice meditation regularly
  • Exercise
  • Identify and track the stressors at work
  • Take time off to recharge

Work-life balance

If you have ambitions to become a great manager, your career must be very important to you. This dedication is admirable, yet it’s also good to remember that work is not your entire life. Of course, you will have to push yourself for the first few months on the job. But after you have successfully passed through the breaking-in period, you need to broaden your interests and activities. A complete manager is, first of all, a complete person.

If a manager starts prioritizing their work and ignores social life and personal interests, it will inevitably lead to burnout. Taking a long-term perspective, this strategy fails and significantly decreases effectiveness.

As with any condition, symptoms of burnout will differ from person to person. But since burnout is ultimately a workplace issue, you can look for some patterns and take action before it’s too late.

Read more on burnout and how to prevent it in our recent blog post - Developer Burnout Can Be a Serious Issue. Here Is How to Spot It.
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