Many managers today face the unique challenge of trying to walk the tightrope between preserving the guidelines set forth by upper management and providing their employees with an engaging, meaningful working experience. Embracing the duality of employee satisfaction and business needs is essential to achieving success in any organization. Balancing these two objectives can often be difficult, but they are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, when these elements are pursued together with a carefully formulated strategy, they contribute to the overall efficacy of the business.
With well-thought-out policies considering employee happiness and corporate goals, a company can foster contentment among its workers and reach their desired economic outcomes. In this way, employee satisfaction and business needs are interconnected; by realizing the symbiotic relationship between them, companies put themselves in a far stronger position to succeed than by focusing solely on one aspect at the expense of another.
The Challenges Facing Managers in 2023
As we enter the new year, managers in the workplace are tasked with the daunting challenge of meeting both leader and employee expectations in a changed landscape. According to research firm Gartner, the workplace is facing historical challenges, including a “competitive talent landscape, an exhausted workforce, and pressure to control costs”, according to research firm Gartner. At the start of the year, Gartner identified “managers will be sandwiched by the leader and employee expectations” as one of the top nine workplace predictions for chief human resource offices this year (1).
The role of leaders in the workplace is complex and nuanced, as they must straddle two distinct yet overlapping roles: that of a manager responsible for their employees, and that of an employee, with their own set of responsibilities and duties to uphold. Such a balance can create inner struggle, often leading to difficult decisions between loyalty to the organization versus dedication to the people under one’s charge.
What’s more, today’s leaders face new job expectations that further complicate this conflict between identities; without clear rules or guidelines in place, it’s easy for confusion and frustration to arise. Leaders similarly feel called upon to fulfill what employees express as needs, though surprisingly, in research, only 48% of employees (2) agree that there is a good sense from their leaders about those needs.
When employees’ needs conflict with the organization’s demands, it is bound to take a toll on managers, and indeed it does. Studies have found that the odds of high anxiety increase by 21% among leaders with increased task responsibilities, increasing the odds of burnout by 520%. More anxiety also increases the odds that leaders will feel their jobs compromise their ability to be happy (246%) and that their organization only cares about the bottom line (132%). When leaders feel this way, it cascades down to those under their management, impacting their mental health and morale (3).
It is increasingly evident that to keep up with the pace of change, companies must invest time and resources into developing strong managerial capacity at all levels of their organizations as a means of staying ahead of the curve. With such formidable challenges lying ahead, it is only through upscaling managerial expertise- such as empowering managers to compete effectively in the talent market – that businesses will be able to stay ahead and maximize operational performance in 2023 and beyond. Crucially, those managers who understand the importance of inspiring others – from empowering employees through engaging environments to motivating team cohesiveness – will stand out in a crowded workplace.
How can CEOs alleviate pressure on managers?
Today’s ever-changing working environment has driven managers to their wits’ end. Not only are they being asked to implement corporate strategy, but they also must ensure their employees feel a sense of purpose, have the freedom to be flexible, and have opportunities for career progression – made all the harder by the shift to remote and hybrid work. The sheer pressure from above and below makes balancing everything a complex task that may seem daunting even for the most experienced manager.
Management is a skill, and for most people, it takes practice. In 2023, the best organizations will take two actions to relieve pressure on managers. Some strategies include:
Clarify Manager Priorities
CEOs must make it crystal clear what the priorities of their managers should be and how they should allocate their time. This allows them to stay focused on the most important objectives while still being able to manage their team effectively. Additionally, it helps alleviate any confusion or misunderstandings that may arise due to conflicting priorities or lack of clarity about who is responsible for what task.
Redesign Roles Where Necessary
The approaches and roles that were successful pre-Covid are ill-suited for the workforce of 2023. CEOs need to take a hard look at their current roles and determine which ones need updating or revamping to keep up with the changing times. Redesigning roles can involve restructuring job titles, responsibilities, and expectations or providing new training opportunities for managers who need additional guidance or support.
Provide Fresh Support & Training
CEOs also need to provide fresh support and training for their managers to continue developing their skills in line with industry changes and technological advances. Providing access to new resources, such as online courses, conferences, workshops, webinars, podcasts, etc., can help ensure managers access up-to-date information on best practices and strategies. Additionally, giving them opportunities outside of work, such as leadership seminars or retreats, can help them stay abreast of new trends while also providing valuable networking opportunities with other professionals in the field and a much-needed break from the office.
CEOs can reduce stress on their managers by implementing an open-door policy (4). This policy allows managers to approach their superiors directly with any questions or concerns they may have without having to go through a formal chain of command. This reduces the feeling of isolation that some managers may experience and encourages them to speak up when they need help or advice from their superiors. An open-door policy also helps foster a sense of trust between managers and their supervisors, which can help ease tensions in the workplace.
Flexible Working Arrangements
Another way that CEOs can reduce stress on their managers is by implementing flexible work arrangements. Flexible working arrangements allow employees to choose how, when, and where they work within certain parameters set by the company’s policies. This could include allowing employees to work from home one or two days a week, adjusting starting and ending times or providing additional paid time off beyond what’s standard in most companies’ vacation policies. Flexible working arrangements give employees more control over their schedules and give them more autonomy over how they manage their workloads,
which can help reduce stress levels significantly.
In order to create a thriving workplace environment where managers feel enabled and trusted, CEOs need to implement specific practices that allow them to lead confidently (5). This includes offering access to adequate resources, sustaining mutually beneficial relationships with employees, and cultivating an atmosphere of trust. These steps will empower management teams and help inspire further growth, allowing businesses to reach a new level of success. It’s clear that when implemented correctly, these practices can have immense benefits for both the leaders themselves and their considerably impacting companies’ achievements in positive ways.
To learn how to alleviate the pressure on your managers and create a positive work culture, visit our website.
1 – https://www.gartner.com/en/articles/9-future-of-work-trends-for-2023
2 – https://www.octanner.com/content/dam/oc-tanner/images/v2/culture- report/2023/home/oc-tanner-global-culture-report-2023.pdf
3 – https://truesynergyinc.com/physical-and-mental-health-key-to-creating-a-productive- workplace/
4 – https://truesynergyinc.com/how-to-reduce-workplace-stress/
5 – https://truesynergyinc.com/how-to-build-and-keep-your-career-confidence/