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Are You a ‘Hotheaded Manager’?

Topics: Career Advice
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Do the people who work for you think of you as pretty steady, emotionally — or as somewhat unpredictable?

If you’re seen as something of a hothead, chances are that some of your employees could be eyeing the exits. A new study finds that the way managers react to stress has a huge effect on employees’ performance and job satisfaction.

A large percentage of managers can’t handle stress

According to new research from leadership training company VitalSmarts, one out of every three managers don’t handle “high-stakes, high-pressure situations” very well.

Many react in less than optimal ways. Per the study:

  • Fifty-three percent are more closed-minded and controlling than open and curious.
  • Forty-five percent of managers are more upset and emotional than calm and in control.
  • Forty-three percent are more angry and heated than cool and collected.
  • Thirty-seven percent avoid or sidestep rather than being direct and unambiguous.

Being able to communicate well with the boss is crucial for employee happiness and for retention. But, managers who behave in erratic ways when times get tough don’t always make it easy.

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Staying cool is good for employees and for business

Struggling to communicate effectively when under stress is a fairly common problem for managers, according to this research. But, common or not, these behaviors come with some pretty major negative consequences.

This research found that managers who “clam up or blow up” when stressed tend to have teams with lower morale. Their employees are more likely to fall short when it comes to things like quality standards and deadlines. And, they are even more likely to act in ways that drive customers away than they would be if they worked for a manager who was better able to keep their cool.

According to the survey:

  • Team members that are led by someone who struggles to stay in effective dialogue when stressed are 62 percent more likely to consider leaving their jobs.
  • They are 56 percent more likely to shut down and stop participating.
  • These team members are 49 percent less like to “go above and beyond.”
  • Employees of these kinds of managers are 40 percent more likely to complain.

Managers have a responsibility when it comes to keeping their cool. Whether or not they’re able to meet that responsibility has a pretty significant impact on employees and on a company’s bottom line.

“Leaders everywhere—not just in business, but also political, community, and societal leaders—must understand the scope of their influence,” said Joseph Grenny, coauthor of the bestseller Crucial Conversations, in statement. “Those watching our leaders will not only mirror their bad communication habits, but act in ways that sabotage results.”

Tell Us What You Think

Do you work well under pressure, or is it a work in progress? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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