Give your employees a stress-free Christmas


As the season of goodwill approaches, it is worth remembering the things you can do to help reduce stress in others and improve their work-life balance.

Unplanned and random delegation.  Good delegation is agreed in advance and involves responsibilities, not just tasks. Poor delegation is where a manager simply offload tasks to others at short notice, usually to relieve their own pressure or lack of good time management.

Delegate don’t abdicate.  Remember that delegation is the sharing of responsibility, not the passing of responsibility. 

Overly aggressive.  For targets to be meaningful, they must be achievable.  If not, they have precisely the opposite effect to the one intended.

Micro-management.  If you employ good people who are capable of doing the job, agree goals and objectives and then let them get on with it.

Carrot or stick.  If you praise a person for doing something well or being successful, not only do they feel good but other people notice and aspire to do well themselves.  They may even model their behaviours on that of the successful person.  On the other hand, if simply berate the people who are performing badly, you simply create a negative atmosphere.  The “carrot” should always be used much more than the “stick”.

Working 9 to 5.  Remember that everyone is entitled to their free time.  Just because you are working late or at weekends doesn’t mean that everyone else is.  So next time you feel the urge to write an email or call colleagues outside hours ask yourself is it really necessary. The truth is that most things can usually wait.

Have a very merry (and stress-free) Christmas.


To contact Nick Woodeson, please email him at