When it comes to managing emotions in the workplace, most managers and supervisors want to accommodate and support emotionally distressed workers. Nine in ten (91%) `agree' (25% strongly/66% somewhat) that `they are confident they have the ability to improve how I react to emotionally distressed workers', although one in ten (9%) `disagree' (1% strongly/8% somewhat) that they are confident they have this ability. Another nine in ten (85%) `agree' (26% strongly/59% somewhat) that they `feel it's a good use of time to focus on building skills that will help them better respond to emotionally distressed workers', while two in ten (15%) `disagree' (2% strongly/13% somewhat) about this use of time. Two-thirds (65%) `agree' (9% strongly/56% somewhat) that `they could do their job more effectively if they found ways to more easily manage distressed workers', although one-third (35%) `disagree' (5% strongly/30% somewhat).
Respondents were asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement with 48 statements pertaining to their ability to manage issues in the workplace dealing with psychological health and well-being. These statements were then grouped into four "skill areas" and analysed as either challenges or strengths. The outcome of this analysis shows that managers consider themselves more adept at dealing with the negative emotional states of those they manage (17% view as a significant strength) and in dealing with their own levels of stress and anger (15% view as a significant strength) than in communicating effectively with employees in stressful or emotionally fraught circumstances (29% identify as a challenge) or in understanding how their own emotions and emotional reactions may impact those they manage (27% identify as a challenge).
While most managers and supervisors believe it's a good use of time to effectively support emotionally distressed employees, at least three-quarters (73%) have no significant strength in any of the four key skill areas for managing emotions (Dealing with other people's negative emotions and reactions, communicating effectively, understanding your reactions, and managing your reactions).
Across all sectors, managers and supervisors claimed they had more challenges with these key areas than strengths. The sectors in which managers are most likely to face challenges in managing emotions (with two or more challenge areas) include wholesale trade (36%), accommodation and food services (31%), construction (29%), administrative and support (29%), and waste management and remediation (29%). Managers more likely to have strengths in managing emotions (with two or more strength areas) tended to work in sectors such as educational services (18%) and public administration (18%), although 82% of managers and supervisors in these fields identify they have one or fewer areas of strength.
The analysis of results indicated that female managers and supervisors are likely to have more strengths and fewer challenges in these skill areas. Fourteen percent (14%) of women were found to have two or more strengths in the four key skill areas for managing emotions, compared to just 11% of men. Conversely, three in ten (27%) male managers and supervisors were found to have two or more challenge areas within key skills to managing emotions, compared to only two in ten (21%) of female managers and supervisors who respond with similar challenges.
The group found to experience the greatest challenges, outside the wholesale trade sector, however, were younger managers and supervisors. Four in ten (35%) managers and supervisors aged 18-34 experienced challenges in two or more skill areas needed for managing emotions. Almost one-quarter (23%) of middle-aged (35-54 yrs. old) managers and supervisors were found to have two or more challenge areas, while two in ten (16%) of senior managers (55+ yrs. old) share similar challenges. Senior managers and supervisors (14%) slightly edge middle-aged managers and supervisors (13%) in experiencing two or more strengths in the key skill areas for managing emotions, compared to only 8% of younger managers and supervisors who have the same number of strength areas.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between July 18th to 24th, 2012, on behalf of Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. For this survey a sample of 6,624 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. This includes a total of 4,307 employees and 2,317 managers/supervisors. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of +/- 1.7 percentage points for employees and +/- 2.3 percentage points for managers and supervisors. For more information on credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website at http://ipsos-na.com/dl/pdf/research/public-affairs/IpsosPA_CredibilityIntervals.pdf
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