Why managers are losing their grip on their leader and employee expectations

One has to gallop back to the mid-16th century to discover the origin of the verb “to manage.” Initially, it was all about horsemanship, as in “handling a horse,” putting it through its paces in the manège – an enclosed area where horses and riders train – and taken from the Latin manus (hand). 

Half a millennium later, there is a worrying sense that business managers are losing their grip and falling at ever-higher hurdles. But to what extent is it their fault the reins are being dropped, considering the increasing intensity of competing pressures from above and below in a period of economic uncertainty?

At the start of 2023, Gartner identified “managers will be sandwiched by leader and employee expectations” as one of the top nine workplace predictions for chief human resource offices this year. 

This assessment was backed up by workplace culture and recognition firm O.C. Tanner’s 2023 Global Culture Report, published in September. The study, which captured answers from 36,000 employees across 20 countries, found that in the U.K. specifically, 41% of managers felt pressured to choose between what their leaders want and the demands of their direct reports. 

Further, almost half (46%) of U.K. managers reported their responsibilities have increased since the pandemic. Tasks that took up the most time included project and team meetings, management meetings, and training and mentoring. On a global scale, 61% of respondents said they had more general responsibilities at work since before the pandemic, compared to only one-third of employees.

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in February 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Published by

Oliver Pickup

Multi-award-winning writer, content editor, ghostwriter, and TV and radio commentator (and occasional illustrator), specialising in technology, blockchain, startups, business, sport and culture. Founder of Pickup Media Limited. Interviewer of death row prisoners, legendary athletes, influential leaders, tech trendsetters, and cultural pioneers. By-lined in every English newspaper. Contributor to dozens of multinational publications.

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