CMI Highlights – 17 January

Wednesday 17 January 2024
In our first update of 2024, we share how to invigorate your return to work and the year ahead – from beating the January blues, to being more Taylor Swift
Shutterstock / Tetiana D

17 January


Dear all,

Welcome to 2024! I hope you’re still feeling the benefits from a well-earned rest. The CMI team is ready to support you through what’s sure to be another fulfilling 12 months.

Those January blues 

Ann Francke's column in The Times offers some great advice on helping people maintain a can-do attitude when January can easily threaten their energy levels. Her tips include acknowledging that seasonal depression is real (whether because of financial pressure or the fact it’s dark at 3.30pm); offering wellbeing days and challenging people to reach new heights. She also lays out the benefits of keeping everyone motivated. 

We were amused to see the term “mubble fubbles” doing the rounds on social media in the new year. Lexicographer and etymologist Susie Dent described it as the “16th-century equivalent of the Sunday evening blues”. The phrase refers to a fit of gloom and despondency, combined with a sense of impending doom” – so it’s a perfect synonym for the January blues. 

Managers can be susceptible to winter gloom too. When digital mental health service Kooth shared an (anonymised) account of one person’s experience of the January blues, it reinforced how much comfort, reassurance and support can be gained by connecting with others who feel similar. Kooth also flagged the value in seeking professional help where necessary, from a therapist or GP. Kooth is free to CMI students and CMI members, and offers an anonymous, BACP-accredited counselling service you can access at any time. Undertaking our member-exclusive wellbeing toolkit is another way to ensure that you and your team feel supported as we head into the year ahead.

A return to the office?

While pay is far from the only driver at work these days, it’s still important. Especially if you’re trying to persuade people back to the office full-time. According to recent CMI research, reported by Bloomberg, Fortune, CNBC and Daily Mail among others, half of the UK's youngest managers would need a pay rise to return to the office five days a week. Anthony Painter, CMI’s director of policy and external affairs, said their preference for continued flexibility is down to family responsibilities. Look out for more CMI insight into hybrid working soon…

Anthony Painter also joined Bruce Daisley in the latest episode of the Eat Sleep Work Repeat podcast, exploring the role of managers in our work lives – and discussing the findings from CMI's Better Managers survey. 

Swift improvements

Ann’s new year message about the Taylor Swift effect resonated with lots of people – not least Robert Baker CMgr CCMI, who shared it on LinkedIn. “She’s the opposite of the patriarchal power that leads to conflict,” Ann wrote of the singer-songwriter. “In contrast to shrillness and vitriol, her performances are joyous and inclusive… At a time of polarisation and intolerance, she wants people to come together and celebrate the good times.”

So there’s another tip for starting the year as you mean to go on: #BeMoreTaylor. Or as Ann put it: “Try it out, build on this phenomenon yourself, live your best life, be a little bit more Taylor Swift in 2024.”

Tips for the year ahead

Your newsletter this week has some insights to help you invigorate your team, renewing their sense of purpose and direction for the year ahead. 

  • One way is to learn to delegate. It may not be as simple as it sounds, but handing over more tasks to your team will help them develop their skills and boost their motivation (while preventing you from burning out too). 
  • And how about committing to building a business that’s smarter than you? The authors of a new book on collective intelligence share some key stories from business history, where companies systematically empowered their people to think well – and reaped the rewards.

At CMI, we’re gearing up for another packed and satisfying year. For starters, we welcomed our new president, Fiona Dawson CBE, in October last year. We can’t wait to see what she has in store for CMI and its members, as we continue to make a difference in policy; campaign for better management; and support you in your continued professional development. 

So here’s to a great 2024 for all of you, Swifties and non-Swifties alike.

Kind regards,


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