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The caring manager in health and social care
The caring manager in health and social care

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3.2 What about the caring manager’s stress?

As you have seen, everybody in health and social care is under increasing pressure, and even well-intentioned managers like Angelique can struggle to meet human needs as well as organisational needs. You will explore this further in the next activity.

Activity 6 The manager’s lot

Listen to the following audio clip, where Angelique talks about her experience managing and supporting Lakshmi in this situation.

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Audio 6 Angelique’s caring management
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What do you think Angelique should do?

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It would seem that there is case for Angelique to develop her own self-awareness more in her role as a caring manager. Angelique had to keep her eye on the team (team awareness), their goals (goal awareness) and the organisational context (contextual awareness) as well. As her stress levels increase because of all the demands on her, managing the life crises, losses, transitions and uncertainties that are part of other people’s lives – and therefore also part of the manager’s lot – could result in compassion fatigue. This, in turn, would have a negative effect on her ability to provide caring management for those for whom she is responsible. Angelique could, therefore, have benefited from developing her personal awareness more reflectively – applying it to her own work–life balance and motivation, but recognising that other people will be different and hence have different needs and ways of coping.

An important message here is that effective management responses to work-based stress must involve personal awareness first and foremost. A manager can lead by example by managing their own wellbeing and encouraging this in others. Perhaps Angelique was focusing so much on helping Lakshmi develop her personal awareness that she was neglecting her own self-awareness wellbeing. Lakshmi had suggested to Angelique that she had difficulty living up to Angelique’s example, and this might have been undermining team morale for others as well.

Now that you have reflected on Lakshmi’s and Angelique’s experiences of stress in the workplace, you may be more aware of similar instances within your own formal and informal practice. The next section emphasises the importance of effective time management in reducing stress and will help you develop your approach to manage time better.