Managers Need a Break

Staffing instability has leaders overwhelmed, while almost all employees agreed that their supervisor has an impact on their well-being at work.

March 10, 2022

Tired, Stressed Out Employee

HOBOKEN, N.J.—Managers are feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the impact of the Great Resignation, according to a new study by Wiley. The report suggests the record number of resignations across the country during the past several months have led to increased instability of work teams, making workplaces stressful and even chaotic.

The vast majority (89%) of respondents said they have experienced at least one team shift during the past year, and the majority have experienced two or more team shifts.

When managers are stressed, the impact on staff retention can make matters even worse, as managers play a critical role in employee satisfaction. In a previous report by Wiley, nearly all employees surveyed (96%) agreed that their manager has an impact on their well-being at work, and 42% said they have left a job in the past because of their manager.

A survey by Crucial Learning found that 1 in 4 respondents are burned out and feeling tired, pessimistic and disengaged from their work. Respondents' top-rated frustrations were lack of proper staffing, too heavy of a workload, societal and world issues and lack of information or resources.

“It's well known that having good managers is vital to organizational success, but their role becomes even more critical to employee engagement and retention amid the Great Resignation,” said Cherryl D'Souza, vice president of brand management at Wiley.

Managers and individual contributors appear to have roughly equal access to stress management resources offered by their employers, such as virtual counseling and support and greater flexibility in work location and hours. However, the findings suggest managers are less likely than individual contributors to benefit from those resources, possibly because of the complexity and workload of the managerial role.

The Crucial Learning survey found that almost half (46%) of respondents concerned about lack of proper staffing have been unable to fully express their feelings—and even after speaking up, only 7% have been able to resolve the problem.

The Wiley report suggests that because managers face additional responsibilities, they have less time to take advantage of helpful resources. They may be required to take on additional work to make up for the loss of team members or focused on helping remaining employees manage their own workloads.

Managers may also be actively avoiding stress management resources for fear of being perceived as weak or unable to handle work-related pressure. However, there is a correlation between speaking up and burnout—even if they don't get fully resolved, finds Crucial Learning. Specifically, when discussing topics like physical or mental health, concerns with coworkers and managers, compensation, or lack of information and resources, people who voiced their concerns were less likely to show signs of disengagement, exhaustion and pessimism.

The pandemic has increased anxiety and tension for everyone, especially those on the front lines. NACS Magazine discusses this serious topic in “Mental Health in the Workplace” in the September 2021 issue.