British employees cite bullying, micro-management and aggressive behaviour as examples of their most recent experiences of poor management

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According to new research by YouGov on behalf of HR and payroll solutions provider MHR, 80% of employees have experienced what they consider to be poor management or a poor manager, at least once during their career.

As a result of managers who are ill-equipped to lead a team, 73% of employees have considered leaving their job and 55% have actually quit their job because of bad management. For those who remain in employment, more than half  (52%) said that they hate their job specifically because of their boss, accroding to research from Expert Market. 

Employees described bad managers as inexperienced, out of their depth, lacking in people skills, expressing favouritism, failing to offer recognition and feedback and failing to communicate effectively. These poor management practices can have lasting effects and significantly damage employee morale, engagement, productivity and job satisfaction.

Julie Lock, Service Development Director at MHR, says: “The survey highlights a widespread failure in the way organisations prepare and train people managers to take care of their staff effectively. While managers are commonly trained in company policy and may understand organisational processes and procedures like the back of their hand, most don’t possess the people skills required to handle the human aspect of management and receive no training for this, which, as the research illustrates, can have damaging and long-lasting repercussions when it comes to employee engagement, talent retention and wellbeing.”

When asked whether managers were equipped to deal with the human or emotional side of management, 58% of respondents said they were not. The most concerning comments were on the subject of mental health, with several respondents citing a disregard or lack of care and awareness of issues surrounding mental health in the workplace.

The ill-feelings towards managers can run to a deeper and darker place as Expert Market’s research found 1 in 10 people have imagined killing their boss - 22% of which work in construction.  The table below breaks down by industry, employees most likely to imagine murdering their bosses:

Bad boss

Locke adds: “The survey also exposes a worrying lack of awareness and understanding around mental health, with poor management sometimes directly responsible for causing mental health problems. This is unacceptable, and exposes a worrying trend that should make all CEOs sit up and take notice. Organisations need to focus on their duty of care for the health and wellbeing of their staff, including mental health.”

Broken down by industry, Expert Market’s research found that retail workers were the most negative about their jobs. 

Other respondents testified to having experienced bullying, micro-management, aggressive and threatening behaviour from their managers during recent employment. Respondents felt that bad management stemmed from a lack of training, whether it be mental health training or basic managerial training.

“Managers promoted from within often struggle to make the transition from being everyone’s friend to being the boss, while managers appointed from outside an organisation often arrive wanting to prove their managerial abilities, but find it difficult to balance demonstrating authority with wanting people to like them. Being a good people manager requires a very specific skillset, the right training and effective internal processes that drive employee engagement.” Locke concludes