One of the top chaplaincy conversations we have with people is stressors around relationships with their boss at work. Stressors can vary from nuances to overloading with work, imbalances in work/life enjoyment all the way to the horrible end of the scale, the impact of workplace bullying and sexual harassment.
WOW or World Of Work spelt out in full, provides a confidential service, where we listen to what is bothering people. Sometimes it is just enough to talk it through, other times we help people get clear on the next steps and of course we always refer people onto to appropriate support services as appropriate to the situation. We are not EAP. In reality, we are that trusted,caring first responder. And we usually work in whole building communities.
Which gets me to bosses....
I'm reading Well Being - The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath and Jim Harter and was struck by what they have to say about bosses.
"Behavioural scientists and economists have become increasingly interested in how people spend their time. Time use studies provide important data about what people do with their time, who they spend it with, and how they feel at various points throughout the day. One of the major findings from their research is that the person we least enjoy being around is our boss."
"Of all the categories people ranked, from friends to relatives to co workers to children, they rated the time they spent with their manager as being the worst time of the day. Even when compared to a list of specific daily activities, time spent with one's boss was actually rated lower than time spent doing chores and cleaning the house. This helps explain why a study of more than 3000 workers in Sweden found that those who deemed their managers to be the least competent had a 24% higher risk of a serious heart problem. For those who had worked for that manager for more than four years, the risk was 39% higher.
"The most disengaged group of workers we have ever studied are those who have a manager who is simply not paying attention. If your manager ignores you, there is a 40% chance that you will be actively disengaged or filled with hostility about your job. If your manager is at least paying attention - even if he focusing on your weaknesses - the chances of you being actively disengaged go down to 22%. But if your manager is primarily focusing on your strengths, the chance of your being actively disengaged is just 1%, or 1 in 100.
While most of us do not have the liberty to choose our boss, we often overlook the profound impact this relationship has on our engagement at work, our physical health, and our overall wellbeing."
Obviously when looking for a new job, role, company, benefits are just as important as to who your manager will be.