Think of your business like the universe.

At the center of the universe is the sun. All other bodies gravitate around it and rely on the sun for sustenance.

Not to feed your ego too much, but in your small business, you are like the sun. Your employees rely on you for guidance and financial wellbeing. Your actions and intentions are important, and if you let your emotions get in the way of being the boss, things can get ugly.

Bosses who are unhappy and stressed in the workplace will create a similar environment in the workplace, leading to unhappy and stressed employees. When employees experience this type of environment, they might start looking for new jobs. It’s important to foster a positive environment, so your employees stay happy and committed to your establishment.

Why negativity in the workplace is an awful idea

According to Sigal Barsade, a Wharton management professor who has studied the effects of emotions, people “Engage in emotional contagion. Emotions travel from person to person like a virus.”

The emotions employees feel play a direct part in how well they do their job.

Additional research, from the Journal of Business and Psychology, says that negativity at work can come home with employees and affect an entire household or family. All of this negativity and stress can even lead to health problems like heart disease.

On the other hand, if a company is supportive of its employees, the likelihood of fostering a happy staff is high.

Although you may not have needed statistics to realize that negativity at the workplace can create a poor working environment, the data does surely exist.

So how you can avoid becoming a toxic boss? Let’s take a look at some suggestions.

Ways to Communicate Effectively

According to Psycholawlogy, there are two main ways that bosses affect employees: performance evaluation and interaction related anxiety. Therefore, learning to communicate with employees while addressing these areas is key.

One method related to performance evaluation is to share praise with your employees when it is deserved. If you notice an employee is going above and beyond for the company, communicate that you appreciate the effort. If an employee successfully up-sells customers on new menu items, or increases cash register sales, congratulate them and ask them to share their secrets.

If the time comes to help an employee improve in part of the job, use positive reinforcement in the process by pointing out the good that the employee does. “I love the way you speak with our customers. They clearly feel appreciated when they are in here,” might be how you start the conversation. Then you can dive into an area where the employee can improve. “Do you feel comfortable with the payment processing equipment? I can show you how to use it more easily.” In this scenario, you aren’t outwardly saying the employee is doing a bad job; you’re simply helping improve the skill set and asking questions to determine their discomfort with areas of the job.

If you ask your employees questions on their performance instead of directly criticizing the way they work, they will feel more comfortable communication with you. This ultimately will take the stress and anxiety away from the communication process.

How to Keep Your Stress Levels Down

We understand that you have the most stressful job at the establishment. You have to worry about paying the bills, paying your employees, and doing enough business so that you can pay yourself.

It’s a tough job, but you’ve decided to do it. In order to keep your own emotions in check, here are a few suggestions:

  • Take some time for yourself, especially when things get stressful.
  • Practice forms of stress reduction like deep breathing, listening to soothing music, and mindfulness. We’ve written about some of these strategies in a past article.
  • Take vacation time when possible.
  • If you find yourself stressing employees significantly take a walk to cool down.
  • Put the stress energy into something else, like exercise.

It’s important to surround yourself with great employees. If you have employees that are constantly stressing you out, then they probably don’t belong in your business. However, if you want your best employees to stick around, you’ll need to be a levelheaded leader.

When the going gets tough, the best, most-respected leaders step to the plate, handle the stress and don’t take it out on their employees. How do you keep calm under pressure? Please share your tips with the community!

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