What is the appropriate method for handling a bad manager? This is a non-trivial question. Managers have a significant impact on employee engagement, accounting for as much as 70% of the variance. Additionally, they play a crucial role in influencing employee turnover rates.
Employers have several solutions to address leaders that are not performing well. One choice is to provide them with extra training to help them get better at what they do. Another choice is to address any outside issues that are affecting their leadership abilities. Finally, you may consider searching for a better-qualified person to fill the position.
We detail some of those options in our blog, "4 Ways to Deal with a Bad Manager or Management Team". However, the question still remains: How can we proactively address and resolve the issues surrounding these individuals?
4 Ways to Fix a Bad Manager
- Make sure your leaders are skilled in leadership.
- Ensure that your leaders possess a genuine desire and intent to excel in their leadership roles.
- It is crucial not to condone or excuse the behavior of ineffective managers.
- Take a moment to consider the superior manager of the ineffective boss.
Gallup argues that “nothing fixes a bad manager,” but that’s not necessarily true. It depends on the situation. It’s also important to understand the difference between innate talent, teachable skills, and personal willingness.
A manager's ability to perform well can suffer if they make mistakes or have weaknesses in certain areas. Identifying and addressing these issues is crucial for improving management effectiveness. To make things better, it's important to figure out what's going wrong and where the problem is.
1. Make sure your leaders are skilled in leadership.
In our first blog, we discussed the risks of hiring or promoting leaders based solely on their skills in unrelated areas. For example, just because someone excels in sales doesn't automatically qualify them to be an exceptional leader or boss.
But effective leadership requires more than just expertise. It involves strong communication, organization, and problem-solving skills. While individuals may not possess these traits naturally, they can develop them through training and practice.
Regardless of someone's current abilities, they can enhance their leadership qualities through practice and study. By investing in acquiring and refining these skills, individuals can reap significant rewards for themselves and the organizations they lead.
2. Make sure your leaders want to be good leaders.
People have different reasons for seeking leadership roles, and not all of them involve managing other people. Because of this, a big challenge is finding people who genuinely want to be good bosses. The employer cannot force someone to have that desire.
For instance, if a leader lacks empathy, it can be a sign of being a bad boss. The manager can make up for this by enhancing problem-solving skills. This way, empathy becomes less crucial in identifying team issues. However, the leader must have the motivation to address this problem.
3. Whatever you do, don’t give bad bosses a pass.
The Harvard Business Review reports on research about dealing with toxic bosses. They discovered that when bosses mistreat employees and are forgiven for their actions simply because they act friendly afterward, it actually strengthens the pervasive cycle of mistreatment that exists in many companies.
Instead of forgiving, implementing sanctions becomes crucial, as previous research has shown that sanctions help deter abusive behavior. Organizational leaders can use sanctions to stop the cycle of mistreatment and create a healthier workplace for everyone.
4. Look at the bad boss’s boss.
When a manager is struggling, it might mean that they have a bad relationship with their supervisor. This can lead to poor communication, guidance, and support. It can also create a negative work environment.
To fix this issue, the manager and their supervisor need to improve their relationship and communication. This will help them establish clear expectations, provide support and guidance, and foster a healthy and collaborative work environment.
There are several warning signs that indicate an ineffective top-level leader. Some potential signs include :
Warning Signs of an Ineffective Top-Level Leader
- Not paying attention.
- Not providing the support the mid-level needs.
- They are actively encouraging dysfunction.
- Not providing timely feedback or input.
- Choosing to ignore the situation rather than act on it.
- Is part of widespread toxicity in company culture; etc.
When addressing the issue of a bad manager, it is imperative to consider this aspect. If there are issues with the higher-up as well, it is important to address them. Dealing only with the mid-level manager will only tackle the symptom and not the root cause.
In conclusion, fixing a bad manager requires effective solutions for maximum employee engagement and retention. Employers can provide training, address external issues, or find a better-qualified person for the job.
However, simply taking action against a bad manager is not enough. Employers must ensure that their leaders are skilled, motivated, and committed to their roles. Employers must make sure their leaders are skilled, motivated, and committed.
They should not support ineffective managers and understand they may be part of a bigger problem with their own boss. By taking proactive steps and identifying the root cause, they can create a positive and productive workplace.
Read more from the 'Making Good Managers' Series!
Explore the "Making Good Managers" series to uncover a wealth of valuable insights on leadership development. The series covers the key aspects of developing leaders, tailored to the needs of business owners like you. Learn about identifying high-potential leaders, planning effective career paths, and enabling problem-solving skills.
Learn the secrets to building a strong leadership pipeline and achieving long-term success in today's dynamic business world. Follow the links to start developing influential and thriving leaders for your organization's future.
CoAdvantage provides expert advisors and comprehensive HR solutions to help you navigate the challenges of dealing with bad managers. Enhance productivity, inspire teams, and cultivate a culture of success by making informed decisions and supporting new managers. Contact us today for impactful leadership support.