Monday, April 04, 2011

It's Down to You

The actions and behaviours of managers have a direct impact on the stress levels and quality of the work-life balance experienced by those who work for them.  Crucially, it is not so much the volume of work that causes stress, but the degree to which people feel they are able to control their workload and priorities. 

Beyond more obvious work-life balance measures such as flexible working, there are several things a manager can do to improve the situation of those in their teams:

1)    Create the opportunities and processes to enable individuals and teams to plan their own work, in terms of both schedules and priorities.

2)    Provide as much forward planning information as possible. Randomly announced jobs with urgent deadlines or ever changing goals and priorities simply serve to reduce the control people have over their work.

3)    Give feedback regularly and certainly not just when things go wrong. Feeling useful and valued is essential for an optimum work-life balance.

4)    Be open to feedback on your own management style and how it affects those around you. Working for a boss you can’t really talk to is a major source of workplace concern.

5)    Involve people in the decisions that will impact their work.

6)    Don’t delegate pressure.  Just because you are under pressure does not mean that your team should be.  Remember that the ‘buck stops with you’.  By all means enlist the help and support of your team, but simply passing on the pressure is generally an unproductive approach.

Lastly remember that the job of a manager is to get the best out of their team, and people generally do their best work when they are happy, motivated and having fun.

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