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Poor Management: An Employer’s Guide To Avoiding Turnover

by Karyn H. Rhodes | SHRM-SCP, SPHR on Dec 14, 2021 8:36:49 AM

Poor management leads to low engagement. And that, in turn, increases turnover. In today’s job market, you likely want to do everything you can to avoid losing employees. And that means addressing any bad bosses in your company. But how do you spot – and stop – them?

Complete Payroll Solutions’ certified HR professionals help companies develop effective managers that keep employees motivated and focused so they want to stay at your organization. To help you understand how to assess your management strategy to ensure your leaders are improving retention rather than derailing it, here we’ll discuss:

  • What are the signs of poor management
  • What are the effects of poor management
  • How can I avoid poor management

After reading this, you’ll know what you need to do to make sure you have the right managerial skills that will help you keep top talent in today’s competitive hiring environment.

What are the signs of poor management?

Common characteristics of a bad manager include:

  1. Controlling: Bad bosses often delegate without explanation, then constantly review work by micromanaging.
  2. Indecisive: A typical trait of a poor manager is indecisiveness. But when bosses drag their feet out of fear of making the wrong decision, they waste both time and their employees’ efforts.
  3. Resistant to Change: Technology, people, processes, the market and various other business factors continually evolve. A bad manager fails to embrace change, which can negatively affect the efficiency and quality of everybody’s daily work.
  4. Plays Favorites: Consciously or not, a poor manager often treats workers differently. If employees feel they’re overlooked for certain perks or promotions because of favoritism, morale is sure to take a hit.
  5. Mean: An angry boss is a bad boss. Whether a manager or supervisor yells, bullies or belittles employees, the behavior’s simply wrong.
  6. Blameless: Everyone makes mistakes. But a poor manager won’t admit to them, placing the fault with others instead. Employees who feel they’re getting a bad rap for something they didn’t do will not only get frustrated, but their boss’ actions could impact their reputation as well.
  7. Self-Righteous: A common characteristic of a bad boss is the inability to see that anyone else is right. This stubbornness can cause them to disregard other’s ideas and opinions, dampening the spirits of those voicing them.
  8. Visionless: Many supervisors are so focused on the day-to-day that they don’t set goals for the future of their department, another trait of poor management. But most employees are eager to know where things are going and want a plan to reach the destination.
  9. Egotistical: The bad boss is often extremely self-centered. But by making everything about them rather than their employees, the bravado will put off workers.
  10. Unavailable: Absent bosses can be bad bosses because they’re not accessible when employees need them to make a decision, in times of crisis, or simply when a delicate situation arises.

What are the effects of poor management?

"Most people don't quit their jobs; they quit their managers," said one VP of Recruiting. And that’s backed up by facts: almost half of full-time US workers surveyed have left a job due to poor management.

That’s the biggest consequence of a bad boss. But there are others as well. These include:

  • Declining productivity. This can be due to a lack of effort because employees lack motivation or simply because management can’t keep them on task or doesn’t clearly define the performance expectations.
  • Low morale. When you have a bad manager, employees won’t feel engaged. And they’ll likely complain to others in the organization, which can negatively affect the culture company-wide.
  • Reduced profits. If poor management is causing employees to look for other jobs, it can impact their focus on your organization’s goals and your ability to reach them. And if many employees leave because of a bad boss, it may affect your reputation – and sales.

How can I achieve good management?

As a business owner or HR professional, you can take critical steps to improve the managerial staff at your company. Here are 5 tips to try.

  1. Provide your managers with the necessary training and guidance. Make sure you invest the necessary time to properly coach and develop your managers rather than promoting them without advance preparation.
  2. Listen and address what you hear. You’ll want to make sure your managers show they value their employees by taking their concerns seriously. That means making changes when possible, and at least letting employees know when you can’t address something at the moment.
  3. Provide for career advancement. Whether you offer educational opportunities or allow employees to take on new or different responsibilities, make sure your workers know that there’s something in it for them.
  4. Have managers offer constructive feedback on a regular basis. Rather than waiting for an annual performance review, the trend now is for frequent check-ins. That way, they can catch and correct a problem early or, conversely, support good performance.
  5. Be flexible in your workplace policies. Provide opportunities for employees to work from home or adapt their hours to meet their personal needs and strike a work-life balance. Because if your managers don’t, another company will.

How to Best Avoid Poor Management

The biggest thing you can do to limit the impact of bad bosses on your employees’ and your organization’s future is to spot them. Whether you field employee complaints or notice poor management directly, once you identify bad bosses, you need to take the situation seriously. That means having tough conversions, following through, and providing the support needed to minimize bad habits – and promote effective ones.

One of the ways you can give managers the tools they need to improve their leadership is with training. Complete Payroll Solutions offer management development to help you grow the type of leaders that will support your organization’s success. Our courses may be a good fit for you if you want:

  • Convenient, online access to over 800 trainings in our learning management system
  • The options for live trainings for leaders on site on topics success as leadership skills and effective management skills
  • Access to experienced, certified HR professionals for additional support to enhance your leader’s skills

To see if Complete Payroll Solutions may be a good fit for you, read our blog on the 7 factors to consider when choosing an outsourced HR provider.

And if you think there are other reasons employees are leaving besides bad management, you may be right. Read our article on the great resignation for insight into what you can do to help retain your top workers.


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