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Bad managers are toxic to the workplace


January 21, 2011
By Amanda Ryder

Jan. 21, 2011 – Bad managers can have negative implications on
employee engagement, turnover and workplace morale, according to a recent
survey by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) and Canadian HR
Reporter.

Jan. 21, 2011 – Bad managers can have negative implications on
employee engagement, turnover and workplace morale, according to a recent
survey by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) and Canadian HR
Reporter.
However, the evidence shows that most organizations will tolerate at
least some managerial misbehaviour as long as they're getting results.

"Problem managers fall into different camps," says Claude Balthazard,
HRPA's director of HR excellence. "There are managers who are poorly
trained or promoted to management for the wrong reasons, and there are
those managers whose values and attitudes are at odds with that of the
organization. Management training can prove to be useful for the first
group but is not helpful for the 'bad apples' out there."

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Signs of a Problem Manager
According to the survey, the most problematic behaviours exhibited by
bad managers included:

  • Inappropriate comments (74%)
  • Favouritism (70%)
  • Unwillingness to follow due process (63%)
  • Treating employees with disrespect (62%)
  • Bullying or intimidation (57%)

Tolerance
One third of respondents (35%) said their organization will tolerate
just about anything from a results-achieving problem manager. The
survey also pointed to a correlation between the degree to which an
organization tolerates misbehaviour and the size of the problem that
problem managers pose in an organization, suggesting that those
organizations which turn a blind eye, or even reward, managerial
misbehaviour will have more such misconduct.

Workplace Impact
Many respondents commented that problem managers have a strong impact on
employee engagement, turnover and the bottom line; and that it does not
take many bad managers to have serious morale consequences. Others
noted that the incidence of problem managers may be underreported
because employees are fearful of reprisals, and that issues can go
undetected for a long time, until problems "blow up."

"The key is not to point out the negative consequences of problem
behaviours, but rather to convince the problem managers that results
will be better if they change their ways," says Balthazard.


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