Individual Wellbeing and Career Experiences
Edited by Ronald J. Burke, Kathryn M. Page and Cary Cooper
Chapter 17: The leaders’ guide to work-related stress
Job stress is one of the most well-researched and established causes of mental health problems amongst working people. Workplaces can prevent job stress, and therefore reduce the prevalence of workplace mental health problems, by improving the quality of the working environment. The systems approach to job stress prevention is an effective and sustainable approach to preventing stress in the workplace. This approach targets both job stressors and employees’ ability to deal with stressors through a combination of work (organizational) and worker/individual-level strategies. Whilst this approach is clear in specifying what workplaces should do to prevent job stress, it is less clear on how workplaces should go about this. In this chapter, we explore the role that leaders can play in the systems approach to preventing stress and to promote employee wellbeing. First, we draw on the scientific evidence that links leadership and employee stress and wellbeing and highlight specific leadership behaviours that are associated with employee mental health. We then describe several practice-based leadership development methods and strategies with a particular focus on leadership coaching to inform workplaces wishing to develop leadership effectiveness in order to influence employee stress and wellbeing outcomes.
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