The global pandemic has been a life-changing experience for most people. With lockdowns, quarantine orders, and massive transition to remote work, productivity has declined, and employee motivation has taken a hit, placing added pressure on managers.
If you’re a manager and have been feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. With the new norm changing our once predictable lifestyles, it’s completely natural to feel this way. To help you find a balance, we want to share several insights and ideas on improving the overall well-being and relationships with your employees.
The Most Common Challenges
Being a manager is not an easy position in all circumstances. It requires leadership, planning, decision-making, and interpersonal skills. As with any role, a manager has to maneuver through various challenges that come their way.
According to Gallup’s Perspective Series on the Manager Experience, the most common challenges managers face typically include:
- Unclear expectations
A managers’ work is often weakly ordered and full of unanticipated tasks. 41% of survey respondents strongly agreed that their job description does not align with their actual work. This is partially due to the complex nature of their role and the conflict in their responsibilities to several stakeholders. In fact, managers are 42% more likely to strongly agree that they have competing multiple priorities, as compared to 27% of individual contributors.
- Heavy workload and distractions
Managers are 67% more likely to agree they have many interruptions at work. Somewhere between managing their direct reports and reporting to the senior leaders, managers are swamped with having too much work and constant interruptions, leading to stress and reduced productivity.
- Job stress and frustrations
Essentially, managers are responsible for the well-being and future of their employees. They are under constant scrutiny and regularly make high-stakes decisions under intense pressure. 27% of surveyed managers were more likely to agree that they felt stressed during most of their recent workdays compared to individual contributors.
- Less focus on their strengths
Individual contributors are encouraged and expected to perform efficiently in a specific role. On the other hand, managers have a multitude of responsibilities and must tap into a vast skill set. As a result, they often don’t get the opportunity to focus on their strengths. Studies show that 11% of managers are less likely to agree that they have the opportunity to do what they do best at work.
- Frustrating performance reviews
Receiving performance reviews that are rather inaccurate and don’t reflect managers’ dedication and commitment to work hinders their effectiveness and ultimately hurts performance. Only 8% of managers strongly agree that performance reviews inspire them to improve. Moreover, they often start to doubt whether their input is appreciated and worry about career prospects.
Additional Problems Imposed by the Pandemic
In addition to a rather long list of issues managers must address daily, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added three specific concerns that require active involvement from leadership.
Coping with trust issues
Managers have been thrown into remote management, requiring entirely different expertise than conventional, face-to-face management. At the same time, the study conducted by Harvard Business Review revealed that about 40% of supervisors and managers expressed low self-confidence in their ability to manage workers remotely. Furthermore, it’s common for managers to struggle to trust their colleagues if they can’t see them, resulting in micromanagement and unreasonable expectations of their availability. This hurts employee engagement and the psychological climate inside the company.
Communication with top management
While working remotely, managers may struggle to maintain efficient communication and collaboration amongst employees and senior leadership. This could lead to communication breakdowns, missed deadlines, and work conflicts. Such challenges can directly impact employee motivation and overall productivity.
Deteriorating mental health
The pandemic has brought an atmosphere of uncertainty, which has led to increased stress levels and deteriorating health. Not knowing what the future holds for us is eroding inner resources, and the pandemic has surely placed employee mental health and wellbeing problems in the front row.
5 Tips to Prevent Burnout Among Managers
All the challenges described above make managers feel overstressed and overworked. Providing managers with the support they need can go a long way – especially for the employees and the organization as a whole.
Here are five effective measures for supporting your key employees:
- Encourage a work-life balance
Motivation and happiness remain an integral factor in determining productivity, therefore it’s important to encourage a work-life balance among managers. Check-in with your managers and remain connected by providing mentorship, guidance, and support when needed.
- Offer training
Remote working requires a unique skill set. Not all managers had a chance to obtain it before the pandemic. Offering practical support, adequate training, and requisite resources will help enhance manager performance and reduce the number of workplace conflicts.
- Practice compassion
It’s important to understand that managers can struggle with challenges, feel burdened, and just feel overwhelmed. It’s important that you show that you care and can really help raise morale. A simple question like “how are you?” can help managers feel much more valued.
- Train managers in delegating job autonomy
Encourage managers to exercise better delegation and trust. Focus on routinely checking in with your employees rather than checking on them. Regularly communicating with your employees and offering guidance will instill a greater sense of belonging, resulting in better performance and wellbeing.
- Emphasize appreciation and recognition
It’s time to change the stigma of negativity attached to the term “feedback.” Positive feedback is a necessary aspect of employee engagement and can warrant improved performance. Never miss a chance to compliment a job well done, which is especially important when the whole team is distributed outside the office.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Guide for Managers – Checking In During COVID-19
Organizing Flexible Rewards and Recognition Program
Gone are the days where performance reviews dampen employee morale and are mostly biased. The structure of feedback is evolving into one that is “adaptive, responsive, and calibrated to the new workplace.” Organizations resort to recognition programs that help managers provide recognition and positive feedback, reducing uncertainty amongst employees and strengthening relationships.
WorkProud offers programs that focus on boosting employee motivation and engagement regardless of where they are located at the moment. The mobile-first recognition platform combines all advantages of an internal social network with a robust choice of options for providing positive feedback, recognition, and tangible rewards.
If you’re looking to start a modern, technology-based recognition program that will help your team come together despite all the current challenges, you can book a tour with a dedicated expert to learn more about our platform. With over 18 years of experience and 450 successful client programs, we are well-equipped to deliver results that drive success.
What is a mobile recognition app?
A technology-based software that reinforces employee behaviors, practices, and activities by offering rewards and recognitions.
What is micromanagement?
Micromanagement involves close supervision and control depicted by managerial employees, providing frequent criticism.
What is ROWE?
A Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) is a strategy that focuses on paying employees based on output instead of the number of hours worked.
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