At a Strengthening Resilience workshop put on by MAS recently a delegate came up with the No.1 challenge facing all of us trying to secure high performance UK through the best level of wellbeing for people at work – it is: the inability of some top, middle and bottom level managers to have any insight whatsoever into the impact they have on others.
We can momentarily forget that managers are irrational, and for all their concern to have facts, data, evidence about some aspects of their managerial life, they seem to be incapable of being the slightest bit interested in any facts, data or evidence about their own behaviours and the impact on others. This is irrational behaviour at its most obvious, and the most damaging. It is a form of individual groupthink, without the group, where the individual is incapable of responding to new information. How many lives are subjected to misery because of this?
All managers need training in person management, and an essential aspect of this is self awareness. There shouldn’t be a single manager who responds to observations about themselves with a denial; all manager’s should be interested in how their staff respond to them, as this is their only real reason for being a manager.
The challenge is how to penetrate the grey matter that is an excuse for self perception. Conventional approaches need to appeal to the manager’s self interest, which is often connected in a mysterious manner to production. However, this breaks down when a manager denies his/her influence on production as being negative. One way round this is for staff to ask the manager to go away for four weeks, and for a member of staff to take the managerial role, introduce adaptive features immediately (sharing responsibility for the organisation) and demonstrate without any ambiguity that wellbeing and performance instantly rises when this particular manager is away. After all, there was that magical moment when death rates fell when doctors took industrial action. Rational?