Many leaders appear to be unaware of the major pressures their staff are feeling – and that is a ticking time bomb which could seriously undermine performance and productivity – according to new research.
Australasia-wide information, from Leadership Management Australasia (LMA), revealed 70% of managers and 63% of employees believe they are under more pressure than they were three years ago, yet only 49% of leaders believe this to be the case.
The research also showed leaders appear to be out of touch with their staff on the sources of pressure: employees ranked achieving work-life balance as their biggest source of pressure while leaders ranked work-life balance third as a source of employee pressure.
There is a major disconnect between what employees are feeling and what managers and leaders are seeing when it comes to pressure, Grant Sexton from LMA commented. “This gap in understanding has the potential to impact on the relationship between the different groups and prevent appropriate actions being taken to reduce the level of pressure into the future,” Sexton said.
When leaders and managers understand the pressures they are under and the pressures exerted on their people, they are able to better manage pressure and ensure it does not negatively impact on performance and productivity, he added.
To best deal with workplace pressure, Sexton recommended that HR should:
Develop a clearer understanding of the pressures that all employees (including managers) are under and look for ways to relieve those pressures.
Explore avenues to reduce and minimise pressure by working collaboratively on strategies and approaches.
Identify how to manage personal pressure and, through better pressure management, demonstrate the value of reducing pressure to a manageable level.
Be prepared to review and discuss pressure regularly to ensure it remains manageable and acceptable at all levels.
Make the achievement of work life balance an achievable goal for all employees, as well as leaders, by being prepared to be flexible in meeting the needs of all staff.
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