Middle managers are first line of defense against “quiet quitting”

Middle managers play a more important role than ever in the success of a company.

Why is this important: Employers remain concerned about people’s happiness at work and those who may leave as the economy faces another period of uncertainty.

State of play: Managers are now on the “front line” of trying to understand what workers need as they continue to redefine their relationships with their work, Bryan Hancock, global talent work leader at McKinsey, told Axios in an interview.

  • To have an empathetic ear to lead with a committed and authentic presence, “when it’s done well, [it makes] a huge difference to their organizations,” says Hancock.
  • And despite the flexibility offered by remote work, workers are so in need of personal connections that one of the “new pieces of office equipment” people are looking for is a manager, according to Hancock.

Threat level: Recent studies on “silent surrender” — or withdrawal from going beyond — partly blame managers.

Reality check: Managers are employees too, and they face the same risk of burnout and disengagement.

  • Managers need to take care of themselves and “put on their own oxygen masks before helping anyone else,” Bhushan Sethi, global co-head of people and organization at PwC, told Axios. .

What to watch: McKinsey says he’s seeing an increased demand for services around training leaders to be more empathetic.


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