how to deal with employee burnout among managers

How to deal with employee burnout among managers

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By Penny Haslam

MD and Founder - Bit Famous

Penny Haslam

How to deal with employee burnout among managers. Middle management has always been a challenging role, but the pressures are mounting like never before. Economic uncertainty, increased responsibilities, budget cuts, and organisational restructuring have all conspired to make life incredibly difficult for these key figures within your company.

A Gallup report published in September 2023 sheds light on the current crisis. It offers a bleak snapshot of the state of middle management. According to the report:

"Most managers now have more work to do on a tighter budget with new teams." 

Middle managers are often referred to as the backbone of any successful organisation, serving as the critical link between senior leadership and frontline employees. Yet, they find themselves entangled in a web of challenges that seem to grow more complex by the day.

Let's look at some numbers that really emphasise the severity of the situation:

  • Nearly 70% of managers feel disengaged at work.
  • A staggering 55% are either watching the job market or actively seeking new employment.
  • Only one in five managers believe their organisation truly cares about their well-being.
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The engagement crisis

Gallup's research indicates that since 2021, employee engagement has taken a significant hit. The root causes? Unclear job expectations, feeling disconnected from the mission and vision of the organisation, and a general lack of opportunities for career development. To make matters worse, many managers feel that their organisations do not truly value their well-being, exacerbating the problems of stress and mental health.

The remote work dilemma

Remote work has been a game-changer, allowing companies to cut costs and tap into broader talent pools. But it comes at a cost. Managers are now required to coordinate remote teams, a task that requires additional skills and responsibilities. Navigating this new landscape has become a delicate juggling act, particularly as more employees transition to full-time remote roles.

The middle management tipping point

Today's middle managers are standing at a crucial tipping point. Businesses are witnessing a range of setbacks due to unaddressed issues. Among the most pressing are:

  • Managers feeling invisible: When your people lack self-belief, they often undervalue themselves and can be easily overlooked for promotions.
  • Declining motivation: Being passed over for promotion can lead to a lack of engagement and motivation.
  • Career stagnation: Employees are hesitant to showcase their skills, thereby hampering their own career growth.
  • Leadership void: When you fail to nurture and promote talent within the organisation, especially among women, you're left with a one-dimensional leadership team that lacks diversity and perspective.

Fixing the strain on middle managers

Fixing the strain on managers isn't a one-step process; it's multi-faceted and requires concerted effort. 

The first crucial move is transparent communication. A startlingly low number of managers—just 3 in 10—feel well-informed by their higher-ups. Regular, clear updates can make a world of difference, enhancing managerial effectiveness across the board.

Secondly, training is sorely lacking. Many managers don't think they have the skills they need, particularly in key areas like staff engagement and handling remote teams. Closing the training gap is essential for future success.

Then comes the issue of burnout, often brushed under the carpet. The remedy here isn't complicated: regular coaching sessions and well-being check-ins can show managers they're valued, not just for their output but for their well-being too.

Lastly, don't underestimate the importance of peer support. Just like any other team, managers benefit from a supportive community. It's not just about formal settings and structured meetings; sometimes the most valuable insights come from casual conversations and shared experiences.

Organisations that address these core issues not only make the managerial role more sustainable but also significantly more effective.

Do you need help with these issues? Discover our group executive coaching for women.

Further reading: The Manager Squeeze: How the New Workplace Is Testing Team Leaders - By Ben Wigert and heather Barrett


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