Is Your Manager a Morale Killer?

Let’s face it…some managers just don’t have what it takes to lead people. Much like the bosses depicted in the recent movie Horrible Bosses, there are people who flat out destroy morale, innovation and confidence. Sure those bosses may have been a little overstated, but the message was clear. And it isn’t at all a surprise that these ‘organizational terrorists’ also do a very poor job with performance reviews.

According to one survey conducted by Florida State University, 40 percent of workers felt they worked for bad bosses. And 37 percent said their bosses didn’t give them the credit they deserved. Even when we account for the fact that some of the respondents were likely less than stellar employees with a personal axe to grind, the numbers are concerning at best.

When it comes to getting feedback from bad bosses, both of an formal and informal nature, there is no question that the message and delivery are likely to be problematic. Imagine, for example, a boss who is overly negative and pessimistic. That boss will often carry that negativity and pessimism over to the preparation and delivery of performance reviews leading to distorted ratings and associated comments.

Or how about the insecure manager who feels the need to take credit for the work of others. Is it possible that the performance review might reflect more negative ratings simply to keep the employee down and make the boss look better?

Experience tells us that there are a lot of people in this world who have been promoted well beyond their ability. Those employees can impact those around them in such a negative manner that turnover increases, engagement falls, morale goes into the tank and productivity takes a hit.

We’ve talked about the performance reviews of the employees working for these bad managers. But what about the feedback and reviews of the bad bosses themselves? Their managers simply have to address the issues with their behavior and performance in a direct and honest manner. To do otherwise is detrimental to the organization as a whole. The more bad managers running around an organization, the more likely that organization is to underperform.

In short, bad bosses need to be dealt with and when it’s clear they can’t or won’t change their behavior and/or performance, it’s time for them to go elsewhere.