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Middle managers turn to AI to solve ongoing stress and workloads

A new survey by Capterra reveals a significant trend among Australian middle managers. Faced with overwhelming workloads and burnout, a staggering 73% report feeling stressed or burnt out. Yet, there’s a glimmer of hope – 77% see potential in artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline tasks and ease their burdens.

Capterra’s Laura Burgess, Content Analyst (Australia), emphasizes the need for a cautious approach, “With the difficulties that come with the middle manager role, software or AI solutions prove helpful but need to be assessed if they’re the right fit for a middle manager’s responsibilities.”

The survey surveyed nearly 100 Australian middle managers, uncovering their struggles and how technology might offer relief.

Where AI Can Help

  • Improved Efficiency: 22% believe AI can make them better managers, with another 20% seeing it automate tasks and lighten their workload.
  • Focus on People Management: Currently, middle managers dedicate only 22% of their time directly managing staff. AI could free them up by automating administrative tasks (identified as the top area for AI assistance by 50% of respondents).

The Challenges Remain

Beyond the technology, the survey highlights training and support gaps crucial for middle managers’ success.

  • Lack of Training: A concerning 80% have rarely or never received managerial training after being promoted.
  • Limited Mentorship: Only 45% have benefited from mentorship by colleagues or senior leaders.

Experiencing burnout in the workplace

Middle managers handle multiple responsibilities, including managing their direct reports, accomplishing their own assigned work, and, at the same time, reporting to the more senior team members. Over time, middle managers may feel stressed and overwhelmed at work, leading to burnout, as expressed by 73% who have had this experience. 

Middle managers’ roles tend to be less noticed since they work behind the scenes. However, the responsibilities they carry impact them. Of those who have experienced burnout, 13% always feel it, while 60% said they do so sometimes. However, the use of effective training programs for middle managers can reduce the negative impact of workplace burnout. 

Proper training and implementation 

An adequate amount of training for all management roles is crucial for employees not to feel stressed or overwhelmed. Many middle managers (80%) have rarely or never received managerial training after being hired or promoted. Furthermore, 55% have not experienced mentorship from their colleagues, including other managers or senior leaders. This position is overlooked in the workplace, forcing middle managers to figure things out independently.

According to the report, middle managers have expressed interest in receiving training on specific topics, including conflict resolution (43%), delegation (41%), communication (30%), time management (29%) and project management (28%). Honing their skills based on these aspects can help them manage their role effectively.

Given the importance of training, it is worth exploring which skills middle managers find most valuable. Middle managers are looking to switch jobs in the near future, indicating burnout, career progression and work-life balance as the main factors in their decision.

Burgess concludes: “The lack of training for middle managers contributes to stress and burnout. By investing in regular training and exploring AI solutions, companies can create a more harmonious work environment, especially for those in these crucial roles.”

For more information, visit capterra.com.au.

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