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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wakelin

Do poor managers have a negative effect on employees?

A report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) recently found that there was a direct link between poor managers and negative mental health, job satisfaction and levels of performance.

Disengaged employee

The CIPD asked a selection of employees to rate their managers on their people management skills. The employees were then asked about their own job satisfaction, wellbeing and performance, which was then used to analyse against the perception the employees had of their line managers' management skills. The CIPD survey found that the employees who rated their managers lowest were more likely to report mental health problems, excessive pressure at work, low job satisfaction and lack of motivation.

"This research starkly shows that poor managers that lack key people management skills can have a very negative effect on the mental health, job satisfaction and performance of the people they manage." – Ben Willmott, CIPD Head of Public Policy

On the reverse good managers can have a positive effect on their employees, and can create a happier and engaged workforce with fewer absences and less employee turnover.

What makes a good manager?

It is often those employees that are good at their job who are promoted up through the ranks to managerial roles. However, being a manager needs a very different set of skills, some of which can be taught, but not everyone has the ability to adjust. It is not uncommon for those who have been promoted this way, to struggle to move away from their previous technical role to take on their new managerial duties.

A management role often includes the following duties, which requires good people management and interpersonal skills:

  • organising and delegating work

  • budget management

  • recruitment, induction and probationary reviews

  • employee recognition, motivation and engagement

  • performance management and appraisals

  • employee training, coaching and development

  • managing annual and family leave requests

  • handling flexible working requests

  • monitoring and managing sickness absence

  • handling disciplinaries and grievances

  • employee wellbeing

  • handling redundancies and terminations of employment

To carry out line management duties, new managers need to be a good people person and like getting the best out of others. To do this they need to be:

  • positive

  • supportive

  • approachable

  • an active listener

  • clear, direct and consistent

  • reliable

They also need to be able to build trust with those they are managing, by:

  • treating everyone fairly and consistently

  • leading by example

  • doing what they say they will do

  • creating positive teamworking

  • understanding individual team members and their strengths and weaknesses

  • setting engaging and challenging goals

  • providing effective feedback and support

How can employers support new managers?

It is important that employers understand that the skills required from those they promote to a management position are different to those of a subject expert. Employers should therefore consider providing new managers management training and support. Training may include effective communication, organisational and motivational skills, as well as training in relation to HR policies and procedures, such as equality, diversity and inclusion, bullying and harassment, wellbeing and mental health at work.

SWan HR Consultancy (London and Kent)

SWan HR is an HR consultancy that specialises in HR support for small to medium sized businesses in the South East.

"Where HR Succeeds, the Business Achieves"

SWan HR was founded by Susan Wakelin, MCIPD, who is a qualified HR professional with over thirty years' experience, from setting up, auditing and improving HR functions to management coaching and supporting organisations through difficult situations, transformation and change.

SWan HR provides a broad range of tailored HR services including an HR audit, HR advice, HR outsourcing, HR coaching and project work for all businesses.

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Contact Susan Wakelin now to take advantage of a free half-hour consultation to talk through your initial HR concerns and how you can manage these going forward.

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