Did you know the new hybrid work environment is burning out organizational managers faster than any other level within your organization? Anecdotally, my executive coaching clients are confirming this truth through the struggles shared in our meetings. Statistically, data from a Q4 2022 Gallup study confirms managers in hybrid environments are burning out in higher percentages than their in-person counterparts, their teams, and their bosses.
The Gallup data revealed 32% of managers in a hybrid work environment report they “always or very often feel burned out at work.” This is comparatively higher than their in-person peers at 21%, and both their staff and their leaders at 26%. Knowing we rely on our managers to foster the desired culture and achieve the results we need; I ask you:
Leaders, what are YOU doing to support the managers who report to you, in this hybrid work environment era?
You know what happens when frontline managers burn out, right? Organization-wide results come under direct threat of serious deterioration. That directly impacts you. Got your attention?
Unfortunately, many of my clients are sharing, by the time they recognize the painful symptoms resulting from burnt-out managers, damage is already done. Increased sick time, diminished productivity, and the “surprise” loss of key talent are a few of the unfortunate results-killers we start to see as burn-out sets in.
Now, I’m sure you know well that mitigating threats BEFORE they begin derailing results is a much better position to be in than trying to fix things after the wheels come off the track. However, 18 months to 2 years into this work transition era, I’m seeing a consistent pattern wherein Sr. Leaders have made great decisions around the approval and high-level structure of their hybrid work environments but have expected managers to intuitively figure out how to seamlessly make it all happen.
This has been a tall ask…Managers have had to foster teamwork and engagement, while managing productivity and getting results, in a completely different environment than the company culture was built upon, or they came up in.
To their credit most managers have done a good job of keeping the wheels on the track. But managing in this new era is not intuitive. It is historic. And, my clients are realizing they have taken their managers for granted, in the hustle to keep “building the widgets”.
While the managers have been figuring out how to keep their teams engaged and getting results, my clients have become more distant. This has left their managers shouldering the burden, but feeling unsupported themselves.
Ready for some good news? It’s never too late to do better!
Now is the right time to develop intention, process, and expectations around how you engage with and support your managers.
3 Tips for Supporting Managers in a Hybrid Work Environment:
- Revamp your communication practices. Feeling connected to our superiors is a critical factor in how engaged we are in our roles.
- Establish and prioritize leader – manager check-ins. Include minimum frequencies, mix up platforms & venues, and balance 1-1 with group communication. Your managers need interaction, timely feedback, and information from you as much as their teams need it from them.
- Schedule a little informal chat time into your regular meetings.
- Hold quarterly 1–3-hour team building and shared learning events. We’ve learned effective ways to hold hybrid team building sessions, make it happen!
- Invest in the training and resources your managers need to succeed in the hybrid work environment. Well-equipped managers, who are clear on expectations, can foster cultures that achieve extra-ordinary results.
- Limited budgets require finding ways to scale resources and tap highly successful internal leaders to hold bite-sized training sessions.
- Embrace the benefits of work-life balance. Most roles have elements that can be accomplished during non-traditional working hours. Covid taught (even the most) traditional workplaces that entire organizations can be trusted – and even thrive – in remote locations and during unconventional hours.
- Results carry the day, for sure. When managers have flexibility to balance work and life are healthier, more loyal, and more effectively engaged. Each of these adds up to higher productivity and supports those great results – that ultimately impact you.
<Bonus tip: Get your managers’ input BEFORE you start making your plans.>
This new hybrid work era is an exciting and dynamic time. We, as leaders, can create improved and thriving workplace cultures, with the buy-in and dedication of our managers. Let’s make sure we do our part to assure our managers are part of the percentage who say “I rarely or never feel burned out at work.