How to support your managers in the new world of work

An international research report from Insights has revealed that managers are at risk of being neglected in the new world of work, and that organisations, leaders, managers and employees need to take action.

We surveyed more than 3,000 office workers from across the globe about their preferences and the future of hybrid working. We found that whilst managers believe their teams are performing, collaborating, and innovating better in the new hybrid world of work, many of them are struggling at a personal level and said that they need additional support to build healthy workplace relationships to drive a positive culture.

The positive impact of team performance captured from the research showed uplifts in agility and ease of delivering objectives. It made the sharing of ideas easier, improved employee wellbeing through work-life balance and made giving and receiving feedback easier. On the downside, three quarters said that since the global pandemic it's more challenging to make strong connections with their teams. Almost as many (71%) said they struggled with not being about to give as much emotional or professional support as they’d like, and it seems that the psychological safety net for our managers is at risk by burnout.

Surprisingly one in five managers said they struggled with feelings of loneliness, and many (30%) felt they had to prove their ‘worth’ while working remotely – far higher than among the non-management population. Managers couldn’t be clearer; they need more support to connect, build stronger relationships and give and receive positive and constructive feedback.

So, here are three research and experience-backed tips for supporting managers that can be implemented today:

Invest in human skills centred on self-awareness

The hybrid working environment is both dynamic and demanding – so it’s time to further equip your managers by investing in human skills. Essential human qualities of empathy, resilience, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking will help managers to build positive and productive relationships more quickly and will give them the resources they need to navigate the complexities of the hybrid world of work. How empathetic and compassionate are your managers currently in managing these emotions virtually?

Developing self-awareness, awareness of others and team awareness is a great place to start. Insights Discovery can help your people understand different preferences, techniques and strategies for building better connections with others, and give tips which will help improve connections and communication for improved outcomes and greater trust.

The Insights four colour preference model is simple to understand and adopt and is built on the premise of ethical reciprocity. It cannot be replicated by AI or machine learning approaches.

Develop a psychological safety net by growing team culture

Driving psychological wellbeing is so important for managers and the teams they lead. Being able to speak up without the risk of humiliation or retribution is a critical driver for healthy group dynamics and being able to make quality decisions as a manager. As managers, encourage more openness and candour from your people, reward reliability and positively acknowledge authenticity. This will create a climate of mutual respect, understanding, and positive regard within your teams.

At Insights, we encourage everyone to bring their authentic selves to work. This sort of encouragement helps people to speak their truth and bring their unique voice to a conversation – whether that’s in a virtual or in-person setting. The development of team culture can be illustrated by managers asking for their teams to remove subjective biases and overlay the Insights non-threatening language of colour to express their inner thoughts. This approach works and improves team performance.

Invest in an Emotional Support Plan – your managers will love it!

Taking the first step in developing an emotional connection with your managers will pay off. The research found that managers want more support to connect with and manage teams. With 73% of hybrid managers wanting hybrid working to continue for the remainder of their careers, it’s time to make a mind-shift approach and recalibrate how we support managers to be successful in the new world of work. The importance of recalibrating our ways of working and supporting managers is a major consideration with one in five managers feeling that their development needs are not being addressed by their organisation.

At Insights we’ve created ‘meeting-free Fridays’ every other week, to ensure time can be set aside for self-reflection, self-development, or to make new connections and learn from other colleagues. We regularly commence our connect calls and meetings with a check-in. I encourage all leaders to start their meetings with this simple entry into more insightful and colourful conversations.

Managers are a key asset linking the top and bottom threads of an organisation and we must support them entering this new world of work. By taking on board these three tips, you can ensure that they are prepared both practically and emotionally for leading their hybrid teams.

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