Managers have a key role to play in the health of their subordinates. There is increasing evidence emerging that managers who are calm under pressure, invest time in talking to their staff, get to know them as individuals and discuss their career development are likely to benefit from lower levels of stress and absence in their teams. A report by the CIPD (2012) found that managers who don't find time to talk individually to their employees, who pass on stress, who panic about deadlines and fail to consult and provide advice, erode motivation and undermine employee health and wellbeing. Furthermore, if an employee is struggling, the manager should be equipped to spot it and be able to have a potentially difficult conversation particularly if the problem concerns mental health. They must also be able to signpost the individual to other help and services if necessary.
According to Bupa (2014), 22% of UK managers avoid talking to employees who suffer from mental health problems and 94% of businesses admit to mental health prejudice in their organisations. This is why training managers to help them pick up the signs that members of their team may be faltering either mentally or physically is becoming more popular. The automatic default for many is to avoid the issue in the hope that it will go away. However, these problems often fester and should be tackled sooner rather than later. The role of the line manager is critical to bringing this about so the business, the team and the individual themselves are not unnecessarily disadvantaged.