Poor management styles undermining employee wellbeing, says CIPD

Tom Newcombe , 14 Dec 2012


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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Getting most out of employees

Gary Winters 14 Dec 2012

"In tough economic times, how people are managed on a day-to-day basis becomes even more critical for organizations ... The research unpicks the behaviors that managers need to exhibit if they want to get the best out of their staff." "Managers need to pay attention to well-being if they are to sustain motivation over time." I wonder if similar studies have been done in the U.S.? It seems to be a huge problem in a lot of workplaces these days. It's not just holding people's hands, either. Let's not forgot the toll stress takes on health ...

Managing employee healthcare

Peter Marno 14 Dec 2012

I am sure everyone reading this article will have been nodding their heads in agreement. The Armed Forces give a great example of how to manage. Their officers and NCOs take it as second nature to know those for whom they are responsible - and that is how tasks are completed. From a cost-management point of view consider a company car that starts to make worrying noises. The driver/user will take it into a garage to be repaired - why don't most employers do the same with employees? Good decisions come from good information. I am often surprised by how employers disregard information on performance that is staring them in the face. Having and using the right health management tools will save employers considerable sums and much distress.

Thanks CIPD

Jim Edwards 14 Dec 2012

Talk about stating the bleeding obvious....

Armed Forces Management?

John Thorburn 19 May 2013

I wouldn't get too carried away with any belief that the Armed Forces are a shining example of good management. They are not, and you can take that from someone with 25 years experience. In the branch of the Army where I was employed, I worked for more people who fit this description than those who don't. Just like 'civvy street' there's a breed of men & women who will let nothing stop them in the pursuit of 'their career'. They will spend as little time as possible learning anything about their role and will step on anyone if it means that to do so will increase their prospects. responsibility and accountability are dirty words and if they can pass he buck, they will. They'll even berate the individual with whom the buck eventually stopped. Utterly shameless. There are indeed some exceptional people in the Armed Forces, but there is a substantial amount of so called 'leaders' who for their own personal safety, should keep leading from the rear. It's very easy for the 'mediocre' man to hide and to prosper in the Services.

In this issue: August 2015
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Stand and deliver: Fresh austerity measures are on the way – but can public sector HR seize the strategic opportunity?

Eureka moment: HR at engineering firm AMFW

Going for gold: Maintaining the Olympic legacy

On the money: Providing innovative rewards

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