Giving managers more respect and a challenging project is as powerful as improving their work-life balance, according to research by executive mentors Rutbusters.

The research studied the opinions of 1,000 senior managers, business owners, professionals and executives and perhaps unsurprisingly found that 84% of managers believed that higher pay or a promotion would increase their happiness at work.

“It’s not surprising that so many people in our research said they wanted more pay and status, don’t we all have a desire for more money and being valued,” said Kedge Martin, CEO of Rutbusters. “However, all the research over the years shows that as long as people don’t feel underpaid, money is actually a poor motivator for all but money-orientated people, such as top salespeople and financial traders.”

More surprising was that respect (72%) and a challenging project (65%) were valued just as highly as flexibility to work from home (67%) and reduced hours (66%).

Martin, who commissioned the research, added: “In this era of work-life balance it may sound counterintuitive that many managers will be happier working long hours on a demanding project for nothing more than a bit of recognition. But it reaffirms the adage that if you want something done well, give it to a busy person.”

As the start of September brings with it the “back-to-work-blues”, senior managers may be tempted to offer a reduction of working hours or a more flexible use of time, but Martin said the findings showed the opposite was true.

“The big finding is that senior managers worried that their best people will go elsewhere because of a dose of back-to-work-blues after the summer holidays should use September to give them a challenging project.”

However, Martin called on bosses to remember to give managers the tools they need to do those challenges to the best of their ability.

“Of course, people need the right training, resources and support to succeed, and the role of an effective boss is to give them these, rather than simply give them all the blame but none of the tools.

“Elaborate schemes to give more home working and a better work-life balance are great, but actually these aren’t always motivational for many people, especially ambitious and talented managers. These people want demanding projects and recognition, not necessarily more time nappy-changing or chatting at the school gate,” she added.

Worryingly for bosses, nearly a third of managers felt a new boss would make them happier, something which the Rutbusters CEO believed bosses had to reflect on.

“While 26% of managers said having a new boss would make them unhappier, a third of managers would instead be pleased. That’s quite sad really. We will all have had great bosses and bad bosses in our career, and about three quarters of managers don’t feel their current boss helps or inspires them. Managers should reflect on this too.”


The post Give managers important work and respect to end “back-to-work-blues” appeared first on Accountancy Age.