Executives around the world are working longer hours, taking on additional responsibilities, and experiencing higher levels of stress as they struggle to address the economic downturn, according to a McKinsey Quarterly survey released recently.
Surprisingly, the executives interviewed claim they feel relatively stable and content about their companies, their work, and their performance as business leaders since the crisis began. This latest point sounds a bit surprising to the regular citizens: expecially if the executives questioned are from the banking and financing fields: given the events in the last one-and-a-half years, one might really wonder why they should feel at ease – if not satisfied – with their performances…
The McKinsey Quarterly report does recognize all is not well, though. Beyond the averages—and the executive suites—middle managers report dramatically lower levels of contentment than their more senior colleagues do, as well as less of a desire to stay with their current employers.
In this survey, a range of executives—from corporate directors and CEOs to middle managers—were asked if and in what way the crisis has led to changes in their professional roles and the ways in which they spend their time on and off the job. They also responded to questions about their levels of physical and mental stress and its sources, rated their own performance as business leaders and the performance of their superiors, and identified the capabilities and mind-sets they have found helpful for tackling the new economic conditions.
Most respondents are working more hours since the crisis began, and nearly 40 percent have more responsibilities without the benefit of a new title. But although stress levels have increased, most executives say they can cope. Further, most find their work more exciting and meaningful than they did before the crisis, and almost all—95 percent—are at least somewhat satisfied with their own performance as business leaders. Far fewer are impressed with the work of their direct superiors. As for middle managers, compared with more senior colleagues, they are less committed to staying with their companies, less enthusiastic about their work, less satisfied with their own performance, and far less satisfied than more senior executives with how their bosses are doing.