Motivational theorist from both the field of management and psychology has been studying the intricate relationship between organisational leadership and employee stress levels at work place. These studies have come up with the fact that there is a co relation between leadership and employee health and wellbeing. Hence employee stress is a significant issue in the industrial world which needs urgent attention.
According to the WHO, a mentally healthy employee is one who is in a state of wellbeing and is able to manage with common stresses and when it is unmanageable then it starts with burn out. In May 2019 WHO recognised burnout as a medical condition in its International classification of diseases.
Among various factors contributing to employee stress, the leadership style plays an important role. A leader’s behaviour and personality plays a significant impact in shaping the minds of the team he leads and the productivity. Among various leadership styles, the Autocratic leadership is the most notorious in effect. An Autocratic leader use their power in making unilateral decision making and give very small space and responsibility to their subordinates. Building and maintaining employees and developing skills in them is the function of a leader. Unfortunately an autocratic leader misses this core function and becomes a toxic leader fumigating the workplace with negative emotions resulting in stress among the knowledge workers. His virulent behaviour impacts the emotional balance with a cascading effect on motivation causing absenteeism and burnout.
The knowledge worker is a term coined by the management guru Peter drunker in the 50s emphasising the class of workers who use data information analysis and communication and are thus well educated and knowledgeable providing value to the organisation. The dissipation of knowledge and value creation is a highly intrinsic process of the body –mind- intellect and hence is a creative process. Any creative pursuit comes from deep emotion and connects with the environment and hence in business situations also a creative process is in motion. This is the reason that we use the term talent management as a key skill required by leaders to deliver result, which unfortunately autocratic leaders don’t have.
Counselling of executives who work under an autocratic leader is more challenging because the employee here comes with a baggage of low morale and ruptured confidence. Building up their morale and self-esteem is then the primary objective of the councillor before applying any interventionist tools and strategies based on his experience.
Through executive counselling we reach out to the depth of the impact on individual morale and intervenes in stitching out the ruptures caused and bring back the distressed in active action.
Rajesh Menon is a practicing management professional and Counselor with more than 22 years of experience in project management, business development and corporate strategy.