How Middle Managers Create Stress

In essence, they generate stress for others because they lack effective management skills. Team leaders, supervisors, and middle managers are primarily responsible for most operational and functional employees’ workplace stress.

Managers induce stress in countless ways, but the following are the most typical.
They are being Insufficiently Trained. The fundamental reason why middle managers are stress-bearers is that they lack management training. More than 80% of managers in modern organizations have undergone less than 5 days of management training, even though training and development for managers are commonly acknowledged to be vital. It is easy to assume that this data is skewed due to the deficiencies of older managers. However, this is not the case. The bulk of younger managers has not earned any additional compensation. Little wonder that the majority of managers lack good management skills. As a result, the manager acts in intrinsically defective ways and, consequently, is highly likely to increase stress levels among individuals affected by their activities.

Promoting Innovation

Good managers encourage creativity and innovation by promoting a culture of continuous improvement; motivating individuals and teams to identify improvements to existing processes; positively responding to ideas from teams and individuals; discussing how improvements or new methods could be implemented; promoting agreed changes to senior management; and ensuring that the change’s originators are recognized. Poor managers do not perform these actions. As a result, discontent and resentment are developed, and both people and teams feel devalued. Will levels of stress rise? Yes.

Managing conditions of health and safety

Workplace conditions are a significant contributor to stress in the workplace. This may include temperature, safety, personal space, air quality, cleanliness, and availability of emergency exits, among other factors. The conscientious manager, aware of the high priority that health and safety should be given, ensures that: they are aware of their personal responsibilities regarding health and safety in their areas of responsibility; the organization’s health and safety policy is clearly communicated to all relevant employees; each individual is aware of and trained to carry out their individual health and safety responsibilities; and systems are in place for identifying, reporting, and correcting health and safety hazards. When management disregards health and safety, working conditions degrade and become hazardous, employees’ health is compromised, and accidents occur. As individuals become less confident, more easily distracted, and possibly unwell as a result of the negative effects of stress, the likelihood of illness and accidents will increase proportionally.

Management of Operational Procedures

The primary responsibility of middle managers is to oversee operational and business processes. This is done ineffectively by not adjusting the processes so that they produce the desired results; not ensuring that sufficient resources are allocated to each part of the process; not providing sufficient information to individuals and teams carrying out the activities; not defining responsibilities; not implementing a monitoring and control system, and not taking appropriate corrective action when the process is failing. The consequence for the teams and individuals carrying out the operational activity is a lack of knowledge, ambiguous objectives, confusing roles, and duties, as well as conflict and dissatisfaction. Because of these impacts, stress levels will increase.

Creating beneficial working relationships

Effective managers will strive diligently and persistently to establish and maintain positive, fruitful connections with their colleagues and other stakeholders. This requires the manager to: identify colleagues and other stakeholders, such as internal and external suppliers and customers; establish positive working relationships with relevant people; respect the knowledge, skills, roles, and responsibilities of others; provide colleagues and stakeholders with the information they require; consult colleagues and stakeholders to determine their priorities and needs; behave ethically toward colleagues and stakeholders; monitor the performance of colleagues and stakeholders. Do managers under stress act in this manner? No. Will their actions create harm to these connections? Yes.

Managing Change

Change’s volume and velocity are frequently blamed for the rise in negative stress levels in the workplace. This view obscures the true issue, which is managers’ inability to properly execute or adapt to change. Change may be handled in a way that minimizes disturbance, minimizes conflict, decreases opposition, and results in at least the majority of individuals welcoming the change. Obviously, there are extreme changes that generate hardship for certain individuals, such as when layoffs are required. Such alterations and their effects are beyond the control of the intermediate management. However, the manager should adopt a strategy to change that, in the vast majority of cases, will make change relatively stress-free.

This approach entails: assessing the impact of the proposed change and preparing for that impact; informing all individuals and teams of impending changes and the reasons for them; making clear the objectives of the change; ensuring that changes made at the local level take into account local circumstances whenever possible; ensuring that individuals are aware of their roles and responsibilities in relation to the change; and offering support to individuals as they adjust to the change. Managers who do not follow this strategy will discover that change is a battlefield, with opposition and conflict, or at best, lackluster response to the change. The change’s intended outcomes will not be realized. Stress levels will have increased and will be tough to reduce.

Managing Personal and Professional Growth

Effective managers embrace and eagerly apply the principle of ongoing personal and professional growth. They accomplish this by regularly anticipating the skills, knowledge, and qualifications they will need to continue to manage effectively and advance their careers; identifying ways to acquire additional knowledge, skills, and qualifications; preparing and executing personal and professional development action plans; obtaining regular feedback on their performance from others; and taking pride in their accomplishments in this area.

At best, ineffective managers pay lip service to organizational requirements by engaging in minimal or unsuitable development activities. They continue to lack expertise, are incompetent in critical management areas, and are unaware of contemporary best practices; as a result, they continue to manage ineffectively. As a result, the acts of the manager continue to generate stress for others.

There is little question that managers are responsible for most workplace stress. Managers are literally there to manage. Managers are tasked with ensuring that the workplace surrounding them is safe, healthy, organized, well-resourced, and fulfilling its goals. To support this, the manager must continually maintain and enhance the motivation, morale, quality standards, performance, and capabilities of individuals and teams. Managers who cannot manage in this manner will produce issues, confusion, dissent, disagreement, conflict, disappointment, frustration, wrath, increased rates of sick leave, and employee turnover. Consequently, they will continue to cause stress in the workplace, and the individuals and teams they supervise will continue to experience the harmful impacts of stress. The message is distinct.

To lessen negative stress in the workplace, it is vital to have managers trained in the management and who manage with forethought and skill. Unavoidably, there will be moments of higher stress, but they should be caused by the peaks and valleys of the organization’s activities, and not by the acts of an individual manager. Stress management will remain a top priority until managers learn how to manage properly. People will use increasing amounts of time and energy on coping techniques. The cost to the organization will include increased rates of attrition and absenteeism, as well as the cost of substandard performance. The true issue, the source of the stress, will persist.

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