CMI comments on Mental Health Awareness Week

Happy and healthy employees are the most effective employees, so every employer should take mental health seriously. That doesn’t just mean providing gym memberships, stress management classes or fresh fruit in the office, as good as those may be. Instead, they should start by looking at the quality of line management in the organisation, because that’s what has the biggest impact on most people’s daily working lives.

A bad relationship with your boss can do enormous damage to your mental health – while the best management styles are linked to higher levels of wellbeing. So employers have to make sure that managers are professionally trained and lead people effectively. That means empowering team members to do their jobs and creating a culture that’s transparent and fair in how people are treated.

Employers also have a particular challenge to support the mental health of their managers. The ‘always on’ culture means working hours are rising. According to CMI’s research, the average manager puts in an extra 7.5 hours a week, equating to 44 more working days a year. That effectively cancels out holiday allowance and could be having a real impact on their wellbeing, with one in 10 reporting taking sick leave for stress and mental health issues over the last year.

Patrick Woodman, Head of Research at CMI

CMI’s recommendations for improving the quality of working life include:

  1. Improve the ability to manage change – change is unsettling and can affect mental health, it’s also inevitable - 97% of managers’ report some degree of organisational change in the past 12 months. Managers have to be transparent and supportive, and involve employees in shaping the changes that affect them.
  2. Develop better line managers – bad management creates stress and can harm mental health. More open, empowering management styles are connected with lower levels of stress – as well as with higher job satisfaction and greater personal productivity. Employers have to do more to support managers’ professional development.
  3. Switch off – Avoiding digital presenteeism means giving colleagues the license to switch off. Colleagues can often be their own worst enemies, and while personal choice is key, options such as restricting remote access should be considered.
  4. Empower your people – The most powerful drivers of job satisfaction are a personal sense of achievement. Where innovative, entrepreneurial and empowering management styles are found, more than 84% of managers are satisfied with their jobs.
  5. End the taboo about mental health –managers have to set a tone that enables colleagues to talk openly about mental health, to admit when things are tough, and need to be supportive when people experience mental health issues.
  6. - Ends -

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    About CMI

    The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leaderships, dedicated to improving managers' skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

    Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalents, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earning potential and improves workplace performance. We have been registered as an apprentice assessment organisation by the Skills Funding Agency.

    CMI has led the way in developing a suite of trailblazing management apprenticeships with a 40-strong group of employers. These start from Level 3 (team leader) and Level 5 (operations manager) through to Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. The Senior Leader Master's Degree Apprenticeship gives employers the option to upskill up to executive and C-suite level. CMI is a Skills Funding Agency-registered apprentice assessment organisation.

    We provide employers and individual managers with access to the latest management thinking and with practical online support that helps them to embrace change, create high-performing teams and keep ahead of the curve.

    With a member community of more than 157,000 managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers to build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.