How to Support your Managers

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Since COVID, organizations have had to continue changing and adjusting to keep up with the effects of the pandemic and the unpredictable market, with managers within these organizations having to be the most resilient peer group.

You may wonder why managers? According to Gartner research, “managers today are accountable for 51% more responsibilities than they can effectively manage, and yet they remain the load-bearing pillar of an organization.” In this research it also found that “the average manager’s number of direct reports has increased by 2.8 times over the last six years.”

In 2023, Gallup asked managers what changes their organization made and here is what they said:

  • 64% said employees were given additional job responsibilities.
  • 51% cited the restructuring of teams.
  • 42% reported budget cuts.

How do these changes and challenges impact managers? 54% of managers are suffering from work-induced stress and fatigue, and 44% are struggling to provide personalized support to their direct reports (Gartner).
So, how do we support managers during this challenging time?

As a starting place, here is great insight from a HBR article:

  • Enhance Self-Awareness – Emphasize the importance of self-awareness and learning. It’s not just about managing others; it’s about managing oneself first. “managers who are unaware of their own strengths and development areas are nearly three times more likely to fail as those who possess this self-awareness.”
  • Increase Empathy – Showing empathy to your manages empowers them to show empathy to themselves and their team members. Teaching your managers that empathy doesn’t diminish authority and rather allows a more open and trustworthy relationship is key.
  • Build Manager-Employee Relationships – Lead by example. Ensure you are building a healthy relationship with your manager and be a mentor and sounding board for them to build relationships with their employees. “Only 47% of employees say they derive valuable outcomes from interactions with their managers; managers whose direct reports can’t derive value from their interactions are 2.7 times more likely to fail.”
  • Aligning Organizational and Employee Goals – Taking the time to ensure your managers understand the organizational goals is paramount to them sharing this insight with their employees. “When hit with disruptions, managers are 42% more likely to prioritize providing immediate work support over aligning work to broader organizational or individual career goals.”

Supporting your managers is more than a weekly 1:1, it’s taking time to truly check in and offer encouragement and guidance. Ensuring your managers are in a good place, makes a difference in so many ways.

Here are articles we found helpful on the topic:
4 Reasons Why Managers Fail
Your Managers Are Not Okay
20 Ways Leaders Can Effectively Support New Managers