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US workers report anxiety and stress over unprepared first-time managers

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Unprepared first-time managers cause stress and discontent

According to a report by Oji Life Lab, a leadership learning solutions company, approximately 40% of U.S. workers experience stress and anxiety related to their first-time managers’ apparent lack of preparedness for leadership roles. The consequences of this situation are evident, with 36% of workers admitting to feeling unmotivated at work, and 21% having trouble sleeping at night. Alarmingly, over a third of the employees expressed a desire to leave their current company altogether.

The main cause of concern among the workers was the lack of leadership skills and training exhibited by their new managers. Key areas where the first-time managers were rated poorly included conflict resolution, handling difficult situations, providing constructive feedback, running productive meetings, and making effective decisions. Oji Life Lab’s co-founder and CEO, Matt Kursh, likened the promotion of individuals to managerial roles without adequate training to asking a surgeon or pilot to learn on the job, emphasizing the need for proper preparation.

A survey involving more than 2,000 U.S. adults revealed that experienced managers received significantly higher ratings for skills such as conflict resolution, running productive meetings, and decision-making. In contrast, employees working under new managers reported a decline in confidence, both in themselves and in the company. The negative impact extended beyond the workplace, affecting their personal lives and relationships as well.

The dissatisfaction with first-time managers was particularly pronounced among workers over the age of 55. A majority of older workers perceived their new managers as weak in areas like conflict resolution and decision-making. Among women, regardless of age, first-time managers had a greater negative impact, with nearly half reporting feelings of stress or anxiety while working with them. Consequently, women were more inclined to consider leaving their companies compared to their male counterparts.

To address this issue, the report emphasized the importance of trainee-centric instruction in effective new manager training. The focus should be on essential leadership habits and their practical application rather than organizational policies or new ideas. Conflict resolution and effective decision-making were highlighted as critical areas that demand attention.

Coaching emerged as a popular method for training workers for management roles, especially for new front-line managers who lack prior experience in leading a team. However, despite the clear demand for managerial training, many workers, particularly in certain industries like retail, face a lack of access to such learning opportunities, hindering their chances of career advancement.

In conclusion, the survey conducted by Oji Life Lab underscores the pressing need for improved training and support for first-time managers in the United States. Addressing the skill gaps in conflict resolution, decision-making, and effective communication will not only alleviate workplace stress and anxiety but also enhance overall productivity and employee retention.


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