You may have felt stressed and blamed it on others but have you ever thought that you may be creating stress for your colleagues, direct reports, managers, suppliers or clients through your actions and behaviours?

When I am working with clients who are feeling stressed one of the causes of their stress that they often identify is the decision making, attitudes, communication skills or behaviours of other people.

Thinking about this the other way round, you may be creating stress for others. Here are some ways that you may be doing this:

It is all about you.

Do you take the credit for things that go well at work and blame others for things that don’t go so well? It can be very stressful for those who are blamed when things don’t go well and if when they do a good job someone else takes all the credit.

Being reactive.

Are you being reactive in your role and just waiting for things to happen and reacting accordingly? Working alongside someone who is very reactive is very stressful as everything is last minute and you never know what you will be asked to do next.

Poor decision making.

Is your decision making slow, indecisive and inconsistent? Poor decision making skills at work can be very stressful for other people. They may not be able to get on with their work as they are always waiting for a decision or they are forever confused about what they should be doing.


Are you inconsistent? You will make others at work feel stressed if you keep changing your mind, changing priorities and plans and moving your staff from one task to another before they can finish anything properly.

Poor communication skills.

How are your communication skills? You can create stress for others if you don’t speak clearly, if you are abrupt, if you don’t update others on your workload, if you never really listen to people and if you don’t have time for others.

Archaic systems, processes and procedures.

Are your business systems, processes and procedures in need of updating? Others may find it stressful to be in or to deal with your business if you have poor processes, systems and procedures. Things will probably take longer than expected, customer service will be negatively impacted and there may be lots of time wasted too. 

Ineffective management.

Are you managing your team ineffectively? It can be very stressful working for someone who is not very good at managing you. This may include poor planning and staff management, showing no interest in your team members, not having or forgetting to have meetings with the team or individual staff members or just generally being ineffectual.

Poor delegation or training skills.

Linked to the above are you training and delegating ineffectively? Others may be getting very stressed because you are not giving enough time to them to explain how to do a task, you are not clear with your instructions, you are interfering all the time, you are not there to answer queries and support them and you never truly empower them.

So what do you need to change so you are not creating stress for others at work? 

Image courtesy of Pat Pilon

Liz Makin

Liz Makin provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals and has created two online video based course 'Stress management for business owners, directors & managers' and ‘Stress management for life: how to reduce and manage stress’ which show you how to reduce your current stress, manage stress positively going forward and build your resilience to stress over time.

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