Are you a BAD Manager?

images of leaders representing toxic leadership.

One of the most (ab)used and (mis)shared quotes on social networks is that “People leave managers, not companies”. Are frequent resignations enough to brand someone as a bad manager?

There are several iterations of this quote or myth:

  • People don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.”
  • People quit bosses, not companies.”

Some profess it to be the single biggest factor for voluntary resignations.

No, it’s not. Yes, a bad manager is a strong trigger for resignations. People do leave jobs because of bad managers.

But people leave good managers too. I have quit jobs and I must say I was fortunate to discuss my resignation and career plans with a great boss.

Insights from a Facebook Research

Facebook found this common belief to be a myth in one of their engagement surveys. Facebook found that when they wanted to retain talent but they quit anyway, it was not because they reported to bad managers. Employees quit Facebook because “they didn’t like the work, their strengths were underused, or they weren’t growing in their careers“.

Dr. Jason McPherson, Culture Amp’s Chief Data Scientist, conducted a similar research to test this common belief that people leave bosses, not companies.

They looked at data from hundreds of the world’s fastest growing companies. They examined 175 teams with a minimum of eight people. What did they discover?

  1. People leave bad managers. However, it is certainly not the number one reason people leave a company
  2. Managers make a difference in “good” companies
  3. In “bad” companies, good or bad managers make little to no difference to a person’s decision to leave

We are in the midst of what some say is “The Great Resignation”. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if one or more of your team members have decided to move on.

Now, coming back to our agenda for this post:

Are you a BAD Manager?

You need to look beyond resignations to get a verdict. What makes a manager good or bad? You need to realize that the correct answer is not a definite point on a scale. Like most quality measurements, the answer would have a range. Like how sweet is a cup of tea? Or like salt to taste.

It helps that we have a range to play. Makes conformance easier and realistic. You have a real chance to be “Good” and an equal probability to be “Bad”. The choice is always ours.

Clear Indicators of a Bad Manager

Arrogant, always critical, tendency to blame others, does not give clear instructions, micromanager, takes the credit for good work, reluctant to appreciate, control freak, biased, avoids tough conversations, lack of empathy, poor listener, expects team members to be “Yes” men.

I am sure there are more to add to the list above.

Remember that being “Good” and “Bad” means conforming to a range. Good managers may be arrogant at times. They too may sound unreasonably critical sometimes. But good managers would realize when they are wrong. They are self-aware.

Bad managers have low self awareness

Management like other disciplines is a journey. Be self-aware, pay attention to your team’s behavior, listen to them and adapt. You need to have the right intent of course. The intent to be “Good”. The intent to make your team happy, successful and on a path to higher learning and greater accomplishments.

Treat employees like they make a difference, and they will” – Jim Goodnight

Three skills for effective management

How to be a Good Manager

Effective management like most other skills and traits can be practiced and mastered. Be persistent with these three skills for effective management. Do share your experiences.

By Nitesh Verma

Founder - Business Management Blog. I am an independent business strategy consultant, helping companies take data driven business decisions. My mission is to find and implement simple solutions for complex business problems.

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