How effective are your senior managers?
A study by workforce consulting Life Meets Work has shown that when when the leaders of an organisation are stressed, this anxiety can go viral across the whole organisation spreading negativity everywhere.
Sometimes things become so bad that employees just have to leave and find somewhere else to work. When your place of work becomes so bad you just have to up sticks and safeguard your own sanity and physical health. In a stressful organisation, motivation and energy can just evaporate into thin air.
I’ve seen this in schools and lots of times too. When the Head is stressed to the max you can feel it and it starts to filter and filter fast. Staff soon become unhappy and before you know it there’s an atmosphere and the place can get toxic. Stress just dominoes.
The survey of 1,000 college-educated U.S. employees, ages 18-70, asked questions about their leader’s ability to handle stress and contributions to the workplace, and their own working experience.
The survey revealed that just 7% of employees thought their stressed bosses effectively led their teams and a pitiful 11% or employees with anxiety-ridden leaders said they were highly engaged at work. Kenneth Matos, psychologist and Vice President of Research for Life Meets Work, said
Companies often focus on fixing individual employees to help them be less stressed and therefore more engaged. Yet, our study found that employee engagement was better predicted by the leader’s ability to manage stress than the employee’s current stress level.
According to the study, when leaders do manage their stress effectively, only about 10% of their employees hold negative opinions.
Source: Life Meets Work
Unsurprisingly, the study also found that when employees see their leaders as unable to cope and manage stress, they report lesser ambition to advance in their organisation. A healthy 79% of employees with resilient leaders wanted to seek promotion yet only 55% of those with a lack-lustre and stressed-out leader felt the same.
The survey makes us realise the true value of a senior manager and their team. As Kenneth Matos says,
This finding should make employers ask themselves an important question, ‘Are stressed leaders corroding my talent pipelines by being unattractive examples of leadership in the company?
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We need to make sure our leaders are in tip-top condition and on top of their game. As Hopke and Matos (2017) say,
“Leaders are how an organization connects to its employees, shares information, and drives the culture forward. So, like any tool,we are tempted to pack them full of skills to do all that we can imagine demanding of them, despite the ever-diminishing returns. However, if we make sure that we are expanding their capacity to manage their stress and stay engaged with their work, there is so much more that they, and the people they lead, can accomplish.”