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4 Ways to Deal with a Bad Manager or Management Team

CoAdvantage- From the perspective of a business owner, there may be only one thing worse than a bad employee: a bad manager.

According to a Gallup Poll, managers account for an astounding 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. Nothing – not wages, not benefits, not work environment – impacts employee engagement (and related metrics like turnover) as strongly as a bad boss. 50% of employees have left a job to get away from their manager!

But bad managers (and management teams), like bad employees, are a problem that nearly every employer just has to deal with at some point. What are your options?

1: Train them

Here, the idea is that skills development and leadership training could help a bad manager to improve. However, Gallup is not encouraging about this tactic: “Virtually all companies try to fix bad managers with training. Nothing fixes a bad manager.” Still, despite Gallup’s dramatic proclamation, if the issues stem from a lack of managerial skill rather than temperament or personal issues, providing feedback and training can help.

2: Help them

Sometimes, managerial underperformance is the result of external factors beyond the manager’s control. Gallup argues that you can’t fix a bad manager, but sometimes it will turn out not to be the manager but rather an operational or logistical hurdle that, if resolved, would fix the overall issue. The manager might not have access to the resources or support he or she needs to be successful.

Employers should handle bad managers the way they handle bad employees: talking to them in a solutions-oriented way that tries to diagnose any underlying issues that can be fixed.

3: Replace them

A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research looks at the costs associated with bad management. They found that replacing a poorly performing manager with a top performing manager is roughly equivalent to adding an extra person to the team, in terms of productivity.

So, if you can’t fix a bad manager and/or can’t fix any external factors, replace them. In fact, researchers suggest the ideal replacements may be hiding in plain sight: “Rare management talent exists in your company right now – it’s hiding in plain sight. Companies that use predictive testing analytics to find … talent will have the biggest advantage in the global war for the best customers.”

4: Prevent them

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. Review your hiring procedures, as well as any leadership development programs your company has in place. Better candidate screening, hiring, and training procedures can go a long way to prevent problems before they arise.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.