Poor management styles undermining employee wellbeing, says CIPD


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Not taking responsibility, passing on stress, panicking about deadlines and telling staff what to do rather than consulting them are some of the worst attributes of bad managers, identified in a report published today by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The report, Managing for sustainable employee engagement: Developing a behavioural framework, looks at how managers need to behave to get the best out of people, by both engaging employees and preventing and managing stress.

The report, which is based on analysis of responses from more than 500 employees and 120 managers across seven organisations, also shows how managers who are calm under pressure, invest time in talking to their staff, get to know them as individuals and discuss their career development are likely to benefit from higher levels of employee engagement and lower levels of stress and absence.

It claims these characteristics are among a number of positive manager behaviours identified by employees as encouraging them to go the extra mile at work, while also supporting their wellbeing.

The research found that managers are more like to motivate and retain their employees if they: consult people rather than simply telling them what to do; take responsibility if things go wrong or mistakes are made; and regularly ask staff if they are OK.

Ben Willmott, head of public policy said: "The research shows that arguably, it is the mediocre managers, who too often 'fly under the radar' in organisations, that are even more damaging to staff engagement over time and often inadvertently cause stress.

"It shows that managers who don't find time to talk individually to their employees, who pass on stress, who panic about deadlines and fail to consult and provide advice, erode motivation and undermine employee health and wellbeing."

Willmott added: "In tough economic times, how people are managed on a day-to-day basis becomes even more critical for organisations that want to engage and get the most out of their workforce. The research unpicks the behaviours that managers need to exhibit if they want to get the best out of their staff while preventing and managing stress. Organisations big and small should take note and ensure that their line managers are properly equipped to get the most out of their people."

Rachel Lewis and Emma Donaldson-Feilder, Directors of Affinity Health at Work, who conducted the research, said: "Employee engagement is important, but it is also fragile, so managers need to pay attention to wellbeing if they are to sustain motivation over time.

"The aim of this research is to support HR, employers and managers by providing a behavioural framework that identifies what managers need to do in order to engender employee engagement that is sustainable because wellbeing is also given consideration. The framework can be used to support managers in developing the core people management skills to enable them to both engage their team and prevent stress."

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