Bad Bosses Bad for Business

..and more importantly your own health and wellbeing in at out of the workplace

Hands up who has had a bad boss?

Recent research from Sweden evidenced that employees who rated their managers poorly had a greater risk of developing cardio vascular disease and having a heart attack. These managers demonstrated a lack of consideration for others, set unrealistic expectations communicated poorly with others. Furthermore the study found the risk of heart disease increased the longer the employees remained at the same organisation.

A more recent Gallup study in April 2015 of 7,272 U.S. adults revealed that one in two had left their job to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career.

Managers also have an effect on our home life. An American Study found employees who said their managers exhibited negative behaviours—such as “tells me my thoughts or feelings are stupid” or “puts me down in front of others”—brought home their workplace stress. Their partners also reported greater tension and fighting at home.

NICE have recently released guidance on Workplace policy and management practices to improve the health and wellbeing of employees

This guideline makes recommendations on improving the health and wellbeing of employees, with a particular focus on organisational culture and context, and the role of line managers.

The aim is to:

  • promote leadership that supports the health and wellbeing of employees
  • help line managers to achieve this
  • explore the positive and negative effect an organisation’s culture can have on people’s health and wellbeing
  • provide a business case and economic modelling for strengthening the role of line managers in ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees.

What’s evident within the guidance is the lack of health messages. No longer is workplace health and wellbeing simply about gym memberships and free fruit.

We must ensure all managers within organisations, including directors and board members, are committed to the health and wellbeing of their workforce and act as good role models

We need to educate, support and empower line managers to adopt a positive leadership style and acknowledge they have an important role in protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of their employees.

Businesses are being challenged to do more with less.  Implementing workplace health and wellbeing strategies is certainly one of those key areas where this is apparent.

Regrettably though this leads to poorly implemented, tick box based programmes that deliver little in the way of impact on both health and business outcomes. If we are to truly embrace workplace wellbeing and recognise it is a key business objective we must give it the time and investment it deserves. One of the simplest ways to make a start is to look at implementing the guidance above.

Andrew Harris

Workplace Health & Wellbeing Specialist

The Fit for Work Team