A bad boss can not only ruin your job experience, really bad ones can destroy trust, ruin a company’s culture and negatively affect engagement, productivity and retention.
Poor leadership is like a cancer: left unchecked, due to a lack of awareness or complacency, it will slowly destroy an organization from the inside out.
And, unfortunately, there are a lot of bad bosses out there in our workplaces today. According to Jeff Vrabel in the Success.com article Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses?, the reason for the increasing number is that companies are choosing the wrong leaders in the first place. He says, “The criteria for what makes someone a really good producer, salesperson or researcher may not be the criteria that make a good leader.”
In the SHRM Online news article Can Bad Boss Behavior Be Fixed?, SHRM editor Kathy Gurchiek interviewed Doug Hutton, vice president of operations at Second City Works, about a survey that the company conducted about bad bosses. The survey found that “bad bosses are deficient communicators, poor collaborators and lack empathy” and that a “lack of empathy can take a variety of forms—shooting down others’ ideas or expecting direct reports to work beyond typical office hours, for example.” Bad bosses are also poor performance managers in that “they don’t give feedback well, and they don’t really develop those around them. They don’t communicate expectations.”
The article also cites two other surveys:
1. A survey of nearly 1,000 U.S. employees, conducted by Harvard Business Review, asked for respondents’ top complaints about their boss. The most popular responses were: not recognizing their achievements, giving murky directions and refusing to talk to them.
2. A survey of 7,712 U.S. adults by Gallup that asked respondents to rate their boss on specific behaviors found that providing meaningful and consistent information was one characteristic of a good boss who engaged with employees.
There are varying degrees of bad bosses, and the range can span anywhere from poor communicator to abusive narcissist. However, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum, bad bosses can negatively affect the productivity of their anxious, frustrated employees, so it’s imperative that employers take action.
Some bad boss problems can be fixed with training and performance management, but it can be a lengthy process.
All employers should conduct regular surveys with employees and monitor the engagement level and morale of teams for any signs that may indicate a problem.
What are you doing in your organization to manage bad boss problems?
Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on October 12 for #Nextchat with special guest SHRM editor Kathy Gurchiek @shrmwriter.
We’ll chat about how organizations can handle the bad boss problem.
Q1. What’s your definition of a bad boss? What are the characteristics?
Q2. Why are bad bosses such a pervasive problem in workplaces today? What is causing this?
Q3. What are the signs that an individual or team is suffering from the effects of a bad boss? What signs should HR look for?
Q4. What is your organization doing to identify bad bosses?
Q5. What is your organization doing to reform bad bosses?
Q6. What steps can employees take to improve their situation until they are able to leave a bad boss?
Q7. How can HR protect employees from retaliation when they report having issues with a bad boss?
Q8. What advice do you have for HR pros as they navigate the process of performance management and termination of a bad boss?
Miss this chat on 10/12/16? You can read the RECAP post with all the tweets here.