Laura Berlinsky-Schine
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Employees are burning out at extreme rates, but there may be one silver lining: they’re feeling supported by women managers.

McKinsey & Co.’s 2021 Women in the Workplace report, the largest annual study on the state of women in corporate America, finds that while there are more women in senior leadership roles, women also report burnout more frequently than their male counterparts. 

According to the study, one in three women say they’ve considered downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely. This is compared with the one in four who said the same early on in the pandemic. Moreover, four in 10 women said that they’ve considered leaving their employer or changing jobs.

But women are also serving as exemplary managers. “Women are rising to the moment as stronger leaders and taking on the extra work that comes with this: compared to men at the same level, women are doing more to support their teams and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts,” the report states. “They are also more likely than men to practice allyship.”

“Women managers have become linchpins in supporting other employees.”

“Women managers especially have become linchpins in supporting other employees, as data shows people who reported to women were more likely to say their boss checked in on their well-being,” the report says.

According to their employees, women managers are outperforming managers who are men in these key areas:

  • Providing emotional support
  • Checking in on overall well-being
  • Helping navigate work/life challenges
  • Working to ensure workload is manageable
  • Helping take actions to prevent or manage burnout

The largest discrepancy is shown in providing emotional support — 19% of those with male managers say their leader has taken action in this regard, and 31% of those with female managers say the same.

“Women leaders are meeting the moment and taking on the extra work that comes with this,” the report states. “Compared to men at the same level, women managers are taking more action to support their teams, from helping employees manage their workloads to checking in regularly on their overall well-being.”

How all managers can support their employees’ well-being

Recognize and reward employee efforts.

Employees more than appreciate recognition for all the hard work they're putting in — they need it. When you see your team members making efforts toward realizing the organization's goals, tell them that you've noticed. Even just a word of praise can go a long way.

Encourage employees to use their PTO.

Vacation time is important for workers' well-being and mental health. Signal to your employees that they should be making use of the PTO available to them. And take PTO yourself — this is leading by example.

Check in frequently.

Don't just wait for your employees to come to you when they're stressed or otherwise overwhelmed. Be proactive by checking in with them frequently. Of course, make sure they know that they can come to you anytime.

Focus on DEI initiatives.

Initiatives that support DEI are crucial to fostering a community. Make diversity and inclusion a priority at your organization. This goes hand in hand with supporting team members' well-being.

Promote collaboration and camaraderie. 

Your organization depends on collaboration, and so does the well-being of your employees. Teambuilding events, happy hours and so on can help develop the collaborative spirit that is essential for supporting all members of your team.

About the Career Expert:

 Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

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