Can Managers Make Their Teams Sick?

Let’s start with some stats:

• Up to 5 million people in the UK feel ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressed by their work.
• Half a million people in the UK believe their work-related stress is making them ill.
• Stress-related illness causes the loss of 6.5 million working days each year.

Now couple this with recent research from Harvard and Stanford Universities, which concluded that stress is as harmful to health as second-hand smoking!

Now we all know the terrible effects of passive smoking. So this is really bad news for the workplace. It means that:

Organisations and managers, who have a duty of care towards their staff, are actually making them sick!

Before we start worrying about money lost and potential law-suits, let’s take a step back: This is something we have control over! We are definitely able to organise workplaces so that employees feel good, rather than get sick.

Here are just a few tips that you can easily action:

1. Take a minute and think: When did I last properly check with my team how they are doing? … Beyond the “Everything all right?” as you are walking towards your desk?
– If you know they are feeling stressed before it gets really bad, then you can quickly do something about it, avoiding them needing sick leave.

2. Do I need to hire new staff?
– If your team are working ridiculous hours, then you need to make a case for more staff. You could even argue for temporary staff for the time being.

3. Dedicate a team meeting to going over your vision, discussing how each employee fits in with that vision. I call this relationship between vision and strategy a ‘jigsaw puzzle’.
– It’s amazing how re-energised people feel when they remember why they are doing what they are doing, and see that it leads to something they believe in!

So managers can make their team sick … but they can also look after their team so they continue to be engaged at work … Which option are you taking?

If you want to find out more how to look after your staff, email or call us. We will be happy to partner with you on this!
Dr Sharon Xuereb is an employee engagement specialist, and a psychologist working in the UK and the US. She has developed a free quiz so you can find out what type of manager you are. You will instantly get practical tips to help you become an even more effective manager!



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