I recently had the opportunity to read yet another great article by Susan Heathfield, who writes frequently on About.com (Human Resources). I subscribe to her posts because she not only provides expert advice, but she also allows her readers to respond to polls or provide opinions and asks for feedback on articles she submits.
Within this post, I have inserted a poll that she did with respect to what makes a manager a bad boss. As you can see, this poll was responded to by a large number of participants and while I do not have the actual comments made on the last question (Please add your own opinion of what makes a bad boss); there were obviously a lot of comments there.
Of a total of 16,621 people who responded to the poll:
35% (5,847) – The manager provides little direction
24% (3,998) – The manager micro-manages and nit-picks your work
17% (2,958) – The manager belittles and puts down staff
10% (1,789) – The manager offers little or no recognition for success and hard work
8% (1,472) – The manager is indecisive and seemingly changes direction at whim
3% (557) – Other: (Please add your own opinion about what makes a bad boss)
The reason I found this so interesting, is that I have worked with both the completely ‘hands off’ manager and the ‘nit-picker’ who micro-managed and criticised everything. I am not sure which one was worse…but judging from the poll above it would seem that more bosses tend to provide little to no direction. The point is, I could most definitely relate to the numbers!
This particular poll ties in quite well to many of the other articles I have written myself about topics such as: performance management, coaching for improved performance, stay interviews, and of course; orientations and on-boarding (or integration of new staff).
If we are not providing direction as leaders, how then can we be managing any kind of productivity amongst our employees? I’ve heard the argument for years about how HR doesn’t contribute to the bottom line of an organization and I would agree that it is often difficult to articulate measurements around emotional aspects of employment relationships. But surely, when evidence such as what is presented in this poll indicates how many bad bosses are out there – why is there no accountability?
I completely accept and acknowledge that there are HR people who have not performed in the way that the executive suite would like to see for the sake of the business…but when I see the numbers in terms of how many bad managers there are, I must question their business savvy.
This article is not intended to bash anyone and I trust that is not the way it will be perceived…but for the organizations that don’t see the tie in to business…I would ask that you contemplate how high-performers could possibly result from leadership such as that indicated above.
Think about this – if you have that many managers in your organization that don’t even know how to provide adequate direction – what direction are the employees taking? So, as an HR person, can I give you the exact figure association to the loss of production because of a lack in employee engagement? Perhaps not, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that something’s gotta give when there’s that high of a percentage of your employee who don’t even know what direction their headed in…