Managers have a lot of responsibility. Whether you are in charge of one person or one hundred, you need to ensure that the decisions you make are not only good for the company but also don’t put your employees under any undue pressure.
And, with more and more employees suffering from mental health issues as a result of workplace stress – 59% of people say work is their primary cause of anxiety and stress – it has never been more important for managers to act in a responsible way.
A spotlight on the issue
A few months ago, five people within Amnesty International’s senior team were forced to resign in the wake of a long-term investigation into ‘toxic’ work environments and ‘internal trauma’ suffered by employees of the charity.
The study into the organisation’s culture discovered that while the vast majority of employees are motivated by the aims and objectives, almost half (40%) of employees admitted that they have experienced either mental or physical problems as a result of their role. Many of those interviewed as part of the research claimed that their managers displayed bullying behaviours and also set ‘unrealistic’ targets and goals, and this caused them unacceptable levels of stress.
Of course, such poor displays of managerial practice are not likely to be present in the majority of workplaces, but the Amnesty example highlights just how influential managers are, and why it is absolutely vital that they display positive leadership skills at all times.
The correct way to manage
The first step towards being a responsible leader is having a firm understanding of the requirements of your team or department. You need to know your exact role in the business, and what you are expected to achieve. It is only by doing this that you will be able to delegate work effectively to the employees under your charge.
It is also essential that everything you do, you do on behalf of your employees. You need to ensure that you are happy to discuss issues when they arise – be they related to pay, benefits, conditions or workload – and you must also be willing to take matters higher should it be required.
Also, as a manager, it is your duty to ensure that the members of your team are coping with the work that they are given. Some people may be unwilling to openly admit that they are struggling of their own accord, but by arranging short meetings on a regular basis, you will give employees the opportunity to discuss any concerns or worries they may have.