37% increase in stress at work

37% of UK businesses have seen an increase in stress-related absence over the last year, with heavy workloads and poor management style to blame, according to a new report from CIPD and Simplyhealth – scary!

Now I’ve been in and around management development for over 20+ years (hard to believe, I know ?) and time and time again I hear this same thing. I also hear that the biggest reason people change their jobs is because of their managers; the single biggest influence on climate is management style; employee engagement is directly affected by good/poor management …. but to be fair to all these managers, if nobody ever trains them, develops their skills, shows them what good management looks like – is it fair to criticise?

And I don’t mean the sheep dips that everybody gets ‘put through’ regardless, with lots of theories and models and ‘Death by Powerpoint’, but real participative, interactive, hands on experiential learning that gives them practical skills, useful knowledge and the confidence to manage well.

Whether we expect them to manage a project or conduct a return to work interview following absence due to mental health problems, how can we expect them to ‘just do it’?

A lot of organisations will promote someone as a manager based on their performance in their job – their attitude, their commitment, their technical expertise but sadly that is not enough. To become a well rounded manager and lead a team of people requires so much more and unless organisations are willing to make that investment either through specific development interventions or with a professionally competent mentor, then how is one supposed to learn?

Being good at your job and delivering great results is one thing – expecting someone to do that as well as take on responsibility for OTHERS to do that too, well that is something else entirely.

Loyalty and technical expertise are not the only requirements of a great manager and is it any wonder that poor management is supposedly responsible for so many organisational pains if these folk are never given the tools, skills and confidence to do a great job?

My stress may well be because of poor management, but my poor manager is probably stressed too! ?