Business is hard and you need to make money. Sometimes things happen outside of your control or a new competitor pops up and what was easy before now becomes complicated. Lots of business owners put pressure on their managers to reach goals, right? Ask — no, demand — that they work hard, stretch and, if they must, put pressure on their team.

That’s how a lot of businesses operate, but there’s a problem: stressed-out managers are bad for everybody at the company. Here’s why you’ll be better off keeping stress down.

Stress Is Bad for Health

Stress can lead to all sorts of physical and mental health problems. From heart problems to depression, stress can be a key cause. When your managers are sick, they can’t perform at their highest level, and if the stress is really bad they may have to take time off. Employees who are out sick or need to take a leave of absence to deal with health problems are not going to make your business grow.

Stress Is Bad for Performance

A little stress can be positive — after all, without deadlines or definite goals, it’s human nature to procrastinate . But researchers found that stress’s impact on performance is an inverted “U.” That is, at the beginning, a little stress causes performance to go up, but then once stress reaches a certain level, peformance begins to drop off and eventually becomes worse than if there were no pressure at all. If managers suffer from high stress levels, their performance is likely to fall.

The Unintended Side Effect of Unrealistic Goals

If you set goals and have financial or other incentives to reach them, your employees will do their best to reach them. But what if the goals are too hard and the consequences of not reaching them are too serve? Do you remember when Wells Fargo employees opened accounts without customers’ permission? They were trying to reach unrealistic goals set by their management. Fearful for their jobs and convinced that cheating was the only way to meet their managers’ goals, employees resorted to cheating. And as more people cheated, the more employees needed to cheat to keep their jobs. In fact, more than 5,000 employees eventually lost their jobs because of the scandal.

If you make unrealistic goals you’ll either lose your employees to your competitors or force your employees into cheating somehow. It’s not what you want nor what your customers want, so keep everyone’s stress down and make goals realistic.

How to Make Managers Less Stressed?

It’s important that managers have the tools they need to do their jobs and that their bosses look out for them. Here are three surefire strategies that any business leader can use to reduce their managers’ stress levels:

  • Proper training (technical and managerial). Often, people get promoted because they are very good at doing a job. But managing people is different than fixing air conditioners. With proper training, managers will not only be better at their jobs, but will have less stress because they know what they are doing.
  • Set realistic goals. As pointed out above, if a person can’t reasonably meet a goal, it will likely cause stress and could encourage dishonest actions.
  • Provide support. Managers need good bosses. They need people to talk to and help with their day-to-day responsibilities—just like the employees they manage. Support can be anything from chances to meet with their peers to regular training meetings. But, make sure your managers’ needs are met.

Too much stress can cause problems. Try to keep it down and everyone happy and you’ll be much better off.

ABOUT Suzanne Lucas

Avatar photoSuzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers. She now writes about Human Resources and Business for a number of different publications.