Ten management behaviours that cause most stress to employees

Recently, we undertook some analysis of the Good Boss database to look specifically at stress. Our findings have shown which particular behaviours cause most stress to employees.

Over the last 15 years, the Good Boss Questionnaire has been providing insights into how certain aspects of managerial behaviour affect employees. The extensive research carried out during its development discovered that certain behaviour traits have a real impact on people – both negatively and positively. By being aware of these behaviours and making changes, you can improve staff morale, productivity and turnover.

The ten management behaviours that cause most stress to employees

1. Making unreasonable demands – a boss who doesn’t respect the work-life balance of others not only causes stress to their employees, but runs a higher risk of staff looking for another job

2. Causing chaos and confusion – it’s usually the employees who have to pick up the pieces when they have a disorganised boss

3. Being a poor listener – people are less productive if they aren’t listened to, as they feel highly de-valued

4. Intimidating people to get results – employees soon lose respect for a boss who behaves in this fashion. It goes beyond “being tough” – and it’s not an effective strategy

5. Being Irritable – an irritable boss tends to focus primarily on mistakes, resulting in unconstructive criticism of people

6. Having noticeable mood swings – employees will spend a lot of time speculating about what they may have done to cause a particular response when their boss displays inconsistent behaviour

7. Humiliating others – people feel belittled and embarrassed when they’re humiliated… it feels personal

8. Acting unpredictably – it’s exhausting working for a boss who behaves unpredictably. People would actually prefer to work for a boss who was bad all the time, as they can at least work around behaviour that’s consistent!

9. Being in denial of their own failings – a boss who lacks self-awareness is likely to be overconfident about their own performance. As a result, they are unlikely to be able to process and understand criticisms well

10. Nit-picking staff’s work – this leads to people feeling like a resource that needs to be squeezed, rather than as individuals to be encouraged. If work is never good enough, there’s no motivation to do better

Tips on how to cause employees less stress

  • Make communication a two-way process – take particular care to listen and consult with people; explore their views and opinions
  • Balance task needs with people needs – being reasonable with your requests recognises the importance of being able to switch off work at the end of the day, helping to create physical and mental well-being
  • Treat others with respect – using praise, acknowledgement and recognition shows your people that they are valued, resulting in higher motivation
  • Be approachable – making time for your employees and going out of your way to talk to others shows that you are interested in building relationships
  • Provide clear direction – being precise about the objectives and the steps that need to be taken to achieve them makes people’s workload so much easier to manage
  • Be genuine – people are more confident and trusting of a boss who is more open with them – even if the news is not necessarily good
  • Retain your composure whatever the situation – this helps keep others on an even keel, all the better for maintaining an atmosphere of reason and rationality

If you’d like to find out more about how the Good Boss Questionnaire and our other products and services can help deliver improved organisational performance in your company, contact us on 01932 874944 or email us at info@peoplebusiness.co.uk.