Stress and heavy workloads create barriers to business success

Leaders struggle to be effective and ‘present’ in the moment - 67% of business leaders are struggling with stress and managing their emotions in the workplace, according to a new survey by Lee Hecht Harrison.

New survey also finds 42% of managers work on autopilot, leaving them less conscious of their own thoughts and emotions Lee Hecht Harrison, the world’s leading career transition and leadership development company, launches new Mindful Leader for 21st Century programme. Business leaders and managers in the UK are struggling to manage their emotions when dealing with teams and difficult situations, according to new research by the world’s leading career transition and leadership development company Lee Hecht Harrison.

According to the research, 84% of senior managers – including business owners and directors – feel the need to curb their emotions and natural behaviour in the workplace. This raises crucial questions about whether leaders are able to lead in an emotionally intelligent and mindful way. This new focus on curbing emotional instincts is particularly acute in junior manager roles, with over 90% of junior managers reporting that they hold back their true feelings when dealing with colleagues.

In supporting 250,000 business leaders a year, Lee Hecht Harrison have found that those leaders who do not manage their own emotions effectively  can be counterproductive and harmful to the success of teams and organisations. Successful businesses understand that they must anticipate new opportunities to innovate and recognise emerging trends that will place them ahead of their competitors. However, the research found that over half (59%) of managers experience a lack of confidence in their ability to create space for their teams to spark creativity in the workplace – threatening the performance of businesses.

What are the factors driving this? Stress, mainly created by workload, is an ongoing problem for managers with two-thirds (67%) of respondents struggling with stress. The research also found that just under half (42%) of junior managers admit to working on autopilot which in turn leaves them less conscious of their own thoughts (81%) and emotions (66%),and subsequent impact on their teams and business. The research found over half of managers (54%) identified approachability as the key defining quality for a team leader. This is particularly the case at the more junior managerial levels (62%) compared to business owners (41%). Lee Hecht Harrison helps businesses and leaders overcome the significant business challenges and pressures they face. In response to these rising pressures, they are launching a new Mindful Leader for 21st Century programme for UK businesses.

While mindfulness has recently become a popular academic discussion, the concept has so far not been applied in a practical way to support businesses, until now. Lee Hecht Harrison have partnered with mindfulness experts to tailor the concept to leadership and business challenges that exist within an often frenetic workplace, through a new three modular programme that seeks to address the issues raised by this new research. In addition the programme focuses on the key attributes of wisdom and courage in effective leadership.

Nick Goldberg, Managing Director, Lee Hecht Harrison UK said: “Today’s leaders are under pressure. The need to to drive businesses forward, hitting their financial targets and manage teams and individuals effectively is a tough balancing act. This new research shows the weight of emotional pressure leaders are under and the potential impact this can have on their effectiveness and the success of their business. This is why at Lee Hecht Harrison we are launching the new Mindful Leader for 21st Century programme. The three modular programme addresses the issues of stress, authenticity and emotional intelligence in the workplace to help build the leaders we need in our changing world.”

The Mindful Leader for 21st Century programme will be launched on the 19 January at the Rainmaker’s Loft, London with over 70 industry representatives from across the HR and management and leadership industry. Other findings from the research include: When it comes to managing conflict, business leaders are struggling with political correctness, with 41% citing it as the biggest issue they face. By contrast, junior managers cite team jealously (37%) and toxic emotions (36%) as the key personality trait they dislike. 

The more people you manage, the more likely you are to be stressed. The research found that over 30% of managers feel stress once a working day when managing 7 or more people.

To avoid high levels of stress and pressure, the optimum number of people leaders should manage is six - with those managing bigger and smaller teams reporting more regular stress and pressure. Recent press coverage of the Government’s review of pension taxation indicates that the Treasury may be gravitating towards the abolition of tax relief linked to each individuals’ rate of income tax, in favour of a universal flat rate incentive instead (see Financial Times, 15 January)

Created on: 26-Jan-16 14:48

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