The 3 Most Important Ways to Improve Managerial Wellbeing

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Organisations, and the managers within them, have been most concerned with employee wellbeing over the last two years. The thought process is: employees make up the majority of an organisation’s workforce and therefore have the most impact. If employee wellbeing is generally poor, the organisation will grapple with low engagement, productivity, high staff turnover, absenteeism, you name it. But what about managerial wellbeing?

Sadly, because of the weight employees carry in the workforce, organisations have seemingly forgotten about the wellbeing of the ‘minority’. Line managers themselves have forgotten about their own wellbeing, as they try to hold the fort in their teams, maintain the numbers and uphold their managerial responsibilities during a very turbulent time. 

Pre-covid,  CMI’s Quality of Working Life research found that 1 in 10 managers took sick leave because of poor mental health and wellbeing. Based on their research, long working hours led to insomnia, irritability, and an inability to naturally manage stress, which led to poor health and wellbeing. For the last two years, since the start of the pandemic, managers have not only worked longer hours than usual but suddenly found themselves with unusual responsibilities like managing remote teams, mass furloughing and letting go of staff, all while trying to maintain performance, productivity and competitive advantage. And this is only work-related stress! Managers are human too and experience personal stress like everyone else.

Looking after managers’ wellbeing is just as important. They influence the emotions and performance of others, they’re looked up to and are relied upon by those they manage, and their expertise are invaluable to organisational success. If managerial wellbeing is poor, it spreads through their teams, it affects the way they perform and it affects the success of the organisation.

Improving managerial wellbeing will foster a more engaged workforce while improving productivity, performance and competitive advantage. Here are our top tips:

1. Ask line managers how they feel and why

Managers are people too, they have feelings and emotions, and just like the rest of the workforce, those feelings and emotions influence their behaviours. It’s important to keep a pulse on how your line managers feel if you want to maintain manager wellbeing, engagement, motivation and even loyalty. If managers feel negative and their wellbeing is poor, it’ll show in their performance and that of the team’s. Inpulse’s pulse surveys measure emotional analytics which helps to understand how your people feel and why. This data helps you to make better, more rewarding decisions.  

2. Encourage a healthy work-life balance 

Managers should lead by example and should not work themselves to the point of burnout. Rest, spending time with family and friends, and having a life outside of work is imperative. This is how great work is achieved! Encourage your managers to rest, encourage them to have hobbies and establish a work-life balance. Reward hard work, but reward rest too. The digital era also means being ‘switched on’ 24/7. Give your people permission to be digitally absent on their days off too. 

3. Establish communication that fosters trust and transparency 

While CMI’s The Middle Manager Lifeline research showed 85% of managers agree that trust is vital to an organisation’s success, only 36% of middle managers say they trust their leaders fully. Organisations can do more to foster trust with their line managers! Communication is the way to achieve trust. Ask them how they feel, ask them how they can be better supported, talk openly about mental health and wellbeing. Transparency is yet another way to foster trust with staff. Be honest, including mistakes and lessons learned.

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