Part of the Job: Managing FM Team Stress Levels
Keep communication lines open about what might be stressing out members of the team, and be aware of and sympathetic to their challenges.
Camarote regrets that sometimes managers don’t think it’s part of their job to help their teams manage work stress. “I think there are some people that think your stress is on you,” she says. “I’m paying you to do this job. However you feel about that is your business.” She believes the opposite is true — that most managers care about their employees, if for no other reason than that they’ll get more out of people who are less stressed.
To help reduce stress in their team, facility managers should be aware of three things that stress employees out, Camarote says. These are not being clear about what their manager wants, not having the skills to do it, and not feeling control over their time or how they approach the job. “People want to make you happy, so if they’re not doing what you want, work on getting clear about what your expectations are and what you want out of them,” she says. Secondly, work on creating an environment where people are comfortable asking for additional help or guidance. And then allow team members as much autonomy as possible in setting their approach to the task at hand, she says.
Keeping communication lines open and facing challenges as a team can be a way to harness the stresses of the job as inherent team-building opportunities. This goes back to the concept of eustress. If a manager can psych up the team in the face of a challenging and stressful situation, they can get the team to see the stress as exciting, fulfilling, or engaging, says Crabtree. Giving them the why behind the situation also helps a lot, he says.
The goal with stress is finding the sweet spot. “I’ve had to find my own happy medium,” says MacKnight, “And I’ve had to find the happy medium for my staff. We all work together toward the same goal. We have had a lot of conversations and shed a lot of light. When you’re in facilities, you have to find that balance.”
Email comments and questions to email@example.com. And continue the conversation on FM stress at NFMT 2018 in Baltimore, at the opening session on Tuesday, March 20.