As stated in an “Employment Crossing” article, titled, “How Leaders Cause Stress,” “It is often the behavior, the actions or the style of the leader that causes the stress” in the workplace. We often hear about workplace violence in the media, but we may not fully understand what triggered the violence. Could organizational leaders have prevented some of these incidents from taking place? As discussed in the article, common sources of workplace conflict, dispute and personal distress relate to issues of equality of opportunity, diversity and discrimination. Therefore, it is the responsibility of organizational leaders to ensure that people’s actions support equality of opportunity and diversity and prevent discrimination of any kind.
When organizational leaders rule with an iron fist while wearing blinders, they create a toxic work environment that often leads to resentment, poor morale, hostile work environment and chaos. Their unfair and discriminatory behaviors lead to extreme negative stress among subordinates. Instead, effective leadership is needed, such as transformation leaders who increase subordinates’ motivation, morale and performance through different mechanisms. These mechanisms include being a role model, inspiring and respectfully challenging subordinates, and providing subordinates with the support that they need. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” Thus, transformational leaders work to create a positive change in the lives of their subordinates.
If bosses are concerned about leaving a good legacy behind they hope others will emulate, then they must look themselves in the mirror and ask if they want to be treated in the same way that they are treating others. Therefore, it is important that organizational leaders take the time to self-evaluate themselves, create a working environment where employees can honestly speak up about any concerns they may have, and be open to listening to the feedback that they receive from their subordinates. In doing so, organizational leaders will be clearly aware of the environment in which they lead and take the necessary steps to reduce stress and create a positive, healthy and productive workplace.
Dr. Michael Campbell