While the leadership team and HR teams work closely to implement employee well-being initiatives for the entire workforce, how often is the ‘manager’ overlooked?
“If my boss is having a good day, chances are I might too!”
If this is a commonly shared sentiment in your organization, there’s a high possibility that your management team is not well liked. Or respected, or given the fair treatment. This indirectly also impacts the overall effectiveness of the employee well-being initiatives. How? Let’s find out!
Happiness And Stress Flows Top-Down
A report by the British Psychological Society states that poor management style by a manager can create four times the amount of stress. This magnified levels of tension at the workplace is unnecessary and can severely hamper the team’s productivity. But in hindsight, do we realize that the manager is only human and is prone to stress?
In such instances, respect, trust and good management is the key. When respected by the team and trusted by the organization, the manager is empowered to perform and lead more efficiently. On a few occasions, the team should collectively support the manager under stressful situations and lighten the burden. Simultaneously, the manager is expected to reciprocate aptly. She/He needs to undertake a management approach that inspires and assures the team that their best interests are always accounted for. The team needs to be reminded that they can talk to their manager about any professional or personal issues they face, and chalk out solutions that work. On the other hand, the organization should recognize and commend the manager for balancing the scales. So yes, just like company values, happiness and stress also tends to flow top-down. But it is up to each workforce level to responsibly balance the positives and negatives.
Managers: The Link Between Ideation And Execution
Job satisfaction levels go 2.5 times higher and staff turnover drops 40% due to good team management. Engaged employees lead to an increase in productivity and quality of the workplace culture. But how does one achieve a truly engaged employee? Through the manager!
Teams consider their manager to be role models of the company values and how a healthy professional should behave. Often times, the manger’s habits and manners are mirrored by the staff. If a manager works late but expects the team to leave office on time, they will follow the manager’s lead. And if a manager proactively participates in workshops for employees, the team will naturally break away from work and enthusiastically join in. Hence, consult with managers first to drive positive participation in future employee engagement activities or team building workshops for employees.
Managers: Advocates For Employee Well-Being
Knowing that employees tend to imitate their managers’ work behaviour, it’s imperative for the organization to ensure managers are availing employee well-being benefits in order to have the entire workforce follow suit. The stigma of mental health at the workplace is still prominent. The only way to tackle this barrier is to address it head on. Conduct sensitization workshops for employees and more importantly, for managers too. To efficiently lead a team, a manager should first maintain a clear work and personal life boundary. If not, any effort to manage the team’s well-being will be in vain.
The stigma needs to be broken by those in influential positions in the organization. Only then will people feel safe to talk about their mental health issues and access employee well-being support offered by the company. Managers have the power to set the ground for their teams to freely express themselves without being embarrassed.
It’s time the manger is also viewed as an employee and not a superhero. As an individual, she/he has a unique set of expectations set by the organization and also by the team. Employee well-being initiatives can only be successful once the role and expectation of the manager is humanized. Just as managers are expected to be empathetic towards their teams’ well-being, everyone too needs to be sensitive about what managers go through.