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Manager Burnout is Real. So is the Impact it Has on Team Engagement and Organizational Results

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

"Fewer than one in 10 managers or leaders have received training or coaching on how to manage effectively in a hybrid work environment." - Gallup Research

In today's dynamic work environment, where change is the only constant, the role of managers has never been more pivotal. Managers are the bridge between senior leadership and frontline employees, responsible for translating the vision into actionable strategies and ensuring teams are aligned and motivated. However, a concerning trend has emerged – only one in three managers is engaged in their work. This statistic not only poses a challenge for the managers themselves but has far-reaching consequences for the entire team's engagement and overall success.

The Managerial Paradox: Higher Stress, Lower Engagement

It's ironic that managers, who are tasked with ensuring their teams' productivity and engagement, often find themselves grappling with stress and burnout. Studies reveal that managers report higher stress levels and burnout compared to their subordinates. This burnout has disproportionately impacted midlevel and upper-midlevel managers, creating a perplexing situation where those who are expected to lead and inspire are themselves feeling overwhelmed and disconnected.

The Managerial Sandwich: A High-Stress Balancing Act

Midlevel managers find themselves caught in a unique predicament – the "managerial sandwich." Situated between the senior leadership and frontline employees, they face the dual pressure of aligning with the strategic objectives of the organization while addressing the day-to-day concerns of their teams. This delicate balancing act can lead to burnout and disengagement, ultimately cascading down to the teams they manage.

The Crux of the Issue: Manager Engagement

The significance of manager engagement cannot be overstated. Research consistently shows that when managers are engaged, their teams are significantly more likely to be engaged as well. Engaged managers create a positive work environment, foster open communication, and lead by example – all of which contribute to higher team morale and productivity. On the contrary, disengaged managers can foster a sense of detachment within their teams, leading to decreased performance and an increased likelihood of turnover.

Urgent Need for Training and Support

Fewer than one in 10 managers or leaders have received training or coaching on how to manage effectively in a hybrid work environment. With the rise of remote work and flexible arrangements, the skills required to lead teams have evolved. Managers now need to navigate complex challenges such as maintaining team cohesion across distances, leveraging technology for collaboration, and promoting work-life balance. It is time for employers to step up and upskill their managers bringing the same level of excellence in their training and support that they expect managers and front-line employees to give to their customers. As the old adage goes - the customer experience never exceeds the employee experience. We know that the employee experience is heavily dictated by their direct supervisor and the dynamics of their direct team.

The Power of Strength-Based Management

In the quest for solutions, the concept of strength-based management emerges as a powerful approach. Instead of focusing on fixing weaknesses, this approach emphasizes identifying and leveraging individual strengths. When managers play to their strengths, they not only experience higher engagement and well-being but also create an environment that encourages team members to excel in their areas of expertise. This positive cycle leads to increased engagement, improved team performance, and retention.

Priority One: Addressing Manager Engagement

To thrive in the new world of work, senior leadership must recognize the pivotal role that managers play in shaping team engagement and success. It's essential to prioritize manager engagement initiatives and provide the necessary training and resources to equip them for the challenges of modern leadership. By investing in their development, organizations can create a ripple effect that positively impacts team morale, performance, and overall organizational success.

The connection between manager engagement and team engagement is a powerful one that organizations can no longer afford to overlook. With only one in three managers currently engaged in their work, it's time for organizations to address this issue head-on. By supporting and empowering managers to thrive in their roles, organizations can create a more engaged and productive workforce that propels them toward success in the ever-evolving landscape of work.

Interested in learning how to get unstuck and beat burnout? Send an email to for a free download on 7 proven strategies to effectively manage your stress.

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