Under-the-radar burnout is crushing America's managers


According to a recent Gallup survey of Fortune 500 chief human resources officers, middle managers are at the highest risk of layoffs in 2023 compared to other positions within companies implementing layoffs. This could result in the remaining managers having larger teams to oversee. Additionally, managers are experiencing higher levels of burnout and disengagement compared to their staff members. These factors may be contributing to managers seeking employment elsewhere. 

Furthermore, about half of managers reported that their teams underwent restructuring in 2023, and approximately 42% noted budget cuts within their organizations. These changes indicate that managers are facing new workflows, team structures, and tighter budgets. Remote work has also presented additional challenges for managers, such as coordinating team meetings across different time zones. They are navigating the decision between enforcing return-to-office policies or tailoring remote work policies for individual employees, which could impact team cohesion. Managers are feeling the burden of having to communicate and enforce requirements they may not personally prefer. 

Gallup's study revealed that managers are more likely than individual contributors to actively seek or be on the lookout for new job opportunities. Managers also tend to believe that their organization cares less about their well-being compared to their staff members. Many managers find themselves in survival mode, unable to provide regular feedback or support their staff as they would like, resulting in what is referred to as "quiet firing." Promotions, while usually accompanied by increased responsibilities and higher pay, can also lead to job dissatisfaction and the risk of leaving. According to a report by ADP Research Institute, promotions have a longer-lasting impact on a manager's decision to leave compared to individual contributors. 

The report suggests that companies should focus on helping managers understand their management style and provide training and development opportunities to facilitate a smooth transition into their new roles. Furthermore, based on Gallup's findings, better leadership communication, increased training and development, additional coaching support, and shared accountability can help alleviate the strain on managers and enable them to lead their teams more effectively. Companies that invest in manager development have been shown to experience a significant increase in employee engagement, according to another Gallup study.  

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