Supervising the daily tasks of your employees can be overwhelming. But setting boundaries and knowing when to take a break can help.

Being in a leadership position at work can be stressful. Burnout is common among managers and supervisors.

When stress isn’t handled correctly, it can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. It can also strain your relationships — both in the workplace and at home.

If you’re a supervisor or manager, learning to cope with stress at work can benefit your health, your work performance, and your relationships.

Yes, being a supervisor or manager can be stressful.

According to a 2021 Gallup poll, between 33% and 35% of managers reported that they feel burnt out “very often or always.” Those who lead teams (people managers) reported higher levels of burnout.

Because managers liaise between supervisors and staff, you’re tasked with representing both parties. As a result, you might feel like you need to please both groups of people.

Being in a leadership position means more responsibility. You’re not only responsible for your own performance. You’re also held responsible for your staff’s performance.

Other factors associated with work stress include:

  • performance anxiety
  • poor company culture
  • heavy workloads
  • not enough vacation or break time
  • low pay
  • high-pressure environments
  • job insecurity
  • workplace gossip or bullying

Because you’re in a leadership position, you have the opportunity to model positive stress-management techniques for your team.

When your team members learn to deal with stress at work in a positive way, they’ll probably be better equipped to manage their work relationships and tasks. This can contribute to a happier, healthier workplace culture — which benefits both you and your team members.

Taking a break

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can take a break and come back to the task at hand later.

Taking a break can help you reduce feelings of overwhelm in the moment. It can also help you problem solve more effectively, as you might see the issue from a new perspective after you take some time away.

During that break, you can try quick stress management techniques such as:

Identifying triggers

It might be wise to pay attention to what triggers your stress. When you learn your triggers, you’re in a better position to manage them.

For example, if you find yourself extremely stressed when it comes to delegating tasks, ask yourself why that is. Is it because there are more tasks than your team could realistically handle? If so, it might be that you need to speak with your supervisors about bringing on a new employee.

Let’s say you notice that you feel overwhelmed by your weekly meetings because people tend to talk over one another, leading to disagreements. Is there a better way to organize and run those meetings? Can you try a new method?

Your stress can give you valuable insight into what needs to change. Paying attention to your triggers can help you cope emotionally but it can also help you be a more effective leader.


Learning and practicing management skills can help you improve your work relationships and increase your team’s work performance. Efficient management can mean less stress for you and your team.

Your company might provide education opportunities, or they might be willing to pay for a management course or coach. Alternatively, you can learn specific management skills from books, podcasts, and online courses.

Setting boundaries

As a manager, you might find it hard to set boundaries, especially if you feel responsible for the work and well-being of your entire team.

But setting boundaries at work is important for your own mental health. This includes setting boundaries with your supervisors as well as your team members.

Setting boundaries can include communicating about:

  • when you’ll be available for calls or emails
  • which tasks you (and your team) will and won’t take on
  • your or your team’s working hours

Encourage your team members to set healthy boundaries, too. This will help them manage their own stress levels better.

Leading a healthier lifestyle

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), healthy lifestyle factors can help us be more resilient to stress.

This can include:

  • getting enough sleep
  • exercising regularly
  • spending time with loved ones
  • getting adequate nutrition

If you find any of the above factors hard — say, if you have trouble sleeping — consider finding healthy ways to address it. For example, you might want to practice better sleep hygiene or speak with a health professional.

Asking for help

As a manager, you might feel like you have to cope with work stress on your own.

But you can — and often should — ask for help. This can include asking your supervisors and team to assist you in making your workplace fairer, more efficient, and less stressful.

Asking for help can look like this:

  • suggesting your company hires another team member to help you cope with a larger workload
  • asking for more realistic deadlines and workloads
  • recommending better tools/methods for carrying out tasks
  • suggesting more efficient ways to execute (or automate) tasks
  • asking for input and ideas from your team members
  • requesting paid time off when needed

Learning to ask for help can lead to a more efficient workplace and a more positive workplace culture. But more importantly, it can improve your own emotional state and help you feel less stressed.


Therapy can help you process and manage your emotions better. In many cases, therapy can help you cope with stress, which can benefit your work situation and your personal life.

Anybody can benefit from therapy, whether they feel stressed or not. You can check out our hub on finding mental health support.

Being a manager can be stressful. But using short-term and long-term coping techniques can help you feel less stressed.

This can include using relaxation methods, improving your management skills, and setting boundaries at work.

If you’re finding it hard to cope with stress as a manager, consider speaking with a mental health professional.