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How to Help Workers Manage Chronic Stress

The chronic stress of facing uncertainty day after day is taking a mental toll, and 2020 is set to be one of the most stressful years in history. Workers are suffering from burnout and loneliness as they manage remote work, affecting morale and productivity. In fact, a recent survey by Oracle found that the pandemic has propelled workplace stress, anxiety and burnout.  ManpowerGroup Chief Talent Scientist, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, shares his top leadership tips around how managers can better support their teams. 

Check-in regularly with the team

Make an effort to schedule time in your colleague’s schedules that includes time for asking “how are you feeling?” A 21st-century leader needs to act as an employee coach and be willing to proactively reach out to employees to check on their emotional well-being. “A leader needs to act as an employee coach and be willing to have open and honest conversations where they can check in with their employees to see what their stress levels are and help support them manage these.”

Be aware of manager stress levels 

Self-awareness helps managers understand how their own stress levels can impact the team. When someone is stressed, they tend to focus on themselves and are unable to care for or support others. Managers need to see themselves in the eyes of others, so to help grow self-awareness, make it easier for the team to provide managers with constructive feedback in a structured way.

Practice self-care outside of work

Sleep well, eat well and exercise. If managers put their own well-being at the center of their daily routine, it will not only help manage their own stress levels but better support the team and their struggles during this pandemic. The goal should be not eliminating stress, but learning how to manage it with a balanced and supported environment. “And while it’s important to have a solid culture, creating a totally stress-free environment with no problems won’t help build a resilient team,” Chamorro-Premuzic said. 

The silver lining is that stress itself isn’t the enemy, if understood and managed effectively. As Chamorro-Premuzic said, “Some people see stress as a negative, but actually it can lead to many successes. In the workplace, resilience is often built through some form of stress or hardship.” In 2020, this rule is being put to the test like no other time in recent history, but it can be used to come together as stronger teams in the future.

About the Author

Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the Chief Innovation Officer at ManpowerGroup, responsible for leading the Center of Excellence for Assessment and Analytics, developing data-driven solutions and insight to create new value for clients and candidates by driving predictable performance. He joined ManpowerGroup in 2018 after serving as CEO of Hogan Assessments, a world leader in personality assessment, leadership, and organizational effectiveness. As a well-known international expert in business psychology, people analytics, talent management, and artificial intelligence, Dr Chamorro-Premuzic has written 10 books and over 150 scientific papers on the psychology of talent, leadership, innovation, and AI. He is particularly focused on studying the best ways to use AI to augment and enhance human capabilities and his latest book, "I, Human: AI, Automation, and the Quest to Reclaim What Makes Us Unique," explores this topic in depth. He has also released three TED talks, including two on the topic of his best-selling book, "Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders (And How to Fix it)." His work has been recognized by the American Psychological Association, the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences, and the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology. A professor of business psychology at University College London and Columbia University, co-founder of, and an associate at Harvard’s Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic is passionate about leveraging people, analytics, and assessment to help individuals understand themselves better and companies better understand their people. Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic regularly speaks at high-profile events and shares his perspective in global media including the BBC, CNN, Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company. Tomas was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and now lives in Rome with his wife and two children.

Profile Photo of Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic