Employer Branding

How Bad Managers Hurt Retention


Middle managers may feel powerless in corporate America, but they yield more influence than they and their companies may think. Unfortunately some of that influence is resulting in good employees walking out the door, costing companies thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

“A lot of studies show the main reason people leave jobs is because of their immediate supervisors, “ says Marie  McIntyre, the author of Secrets to Winning at Office Politics and The Management Team Handbook. “One of the things managers often fail to realize is they have a lot more power than they think.”

While management training programs go a long way in solving some of those retention problems, there are a host of management sins committed every day. From the ghost manager to the hot head boss, here’s a look at five management styles that may hurting retention rates at your company and what a good manager looks like.

Micro Manager

Regardless of the job, one management styles that drives most people crazy is the micro manager. A micro manager is someone who can’t let go of all the details, doesn’t really know how to delegate and is always hovering over their employees and nagging them, says McIntyre. “What a lot of people don’t realize is micro managers are anxious people. A lot of that hovering and meddling comes from being exceedingly anxious,” she says. That won’t stop employees from eventually looking elsewhere if they have to work for a micro manager for an extended period of time.


Cool Parent Leader

Everyone has had one at least once in their life: that super cool boss who will pound shots after work or won’t think twice about sneaking off during work hours to play a round of golf with his or her underlings. “The cool parent leader is so interested in being like and so interested in making the team happy the work never gets done,” says Tasha Eurich, authorof Bankable Leadership. While the cool parent leader is great for the first couple of months of a job, give it a little time and there’s sure to be mass confusion and little respect for that so-called cool manager, she says.

Hot head boss

Work can be stressful and managers are often under even more stress because they have to answer to higher ups. Dealing with stress is what separates good managers from bad ones. One type of manager who falls in the latter category is the hot head boss, or the leader who can’t control his or her negative emotions, says McIntyre. Hot head bosses are typically screaming or otherwise demoralizing his or her employees and are often found in C-level positons or as the owner or owners of family run business, she says. “When hot head bosses are upset they yell and scream and insult people which creates a lot of physical stress,” says McIntyre.

Ghost manager

Having an absent boss seems like a good thing, after all you won’t have anyone breathing down your neck but a manager who is never managing, or otherwise known as a ghost manager can be just as demoralizing as the hot head boss. “Ghost managers aren’t providing any direction and any guidance,” says McIntyre. “They are often not available to answer questions and they certainly don’t deal with career growth.” A ghost manager is fine if the company isn’t looking to grow or can operate basically unsupervised but for most companies a ghost manager is going to be the cause of a lot of turnover.

Dead body leader

Companies want results driven managers but when the leader is all about results and nothing else, often there are a lot of dead bodies or ex-employees left in his or her wake. “The dead body leader is never satisfied with anything and is constantly asking employees for more,” says Eurich. For the first couple of months working for this type of manager will probably raise employees’ game but after a while resentment will start to sink in and ultimately they will burn out and start looking for a new job, she says.

While bad management styles will cause a retention problem, good managers can go a long way in boosting morale and productivity and reducing turnover. So what traits do good managers share? According to Patricia Sweeney, human resource manager at Old Colony Hospice and Palliative Care, often good leaders know who they are leading and know the ability of their staff from the bottom on up. What’s more she says good managers often possess self-integrity and respect, are genuine and hold themselves equally as responsible and accountable as their underlings.  Another positive trait is a willingness to accept that he or she doesn’t possess all the answers. A good manager, who knows the team’s ability, will also be good at delegating to the right employee, she says. “Management style of leadership is crucial to the culture and climate of a workplace environment,” notes Sweeney. “It can absolutely create a place with high morale and loyalty or create chaos and discontent resulting in dire consequences for the success of the organization.”

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