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A & lsquo;horrible boss’ can have serious implications for an employee’s morale as well as potentially disastrous consequences not only for staff turn-over, but also an organisation’s profitability, warns recruitment specialist OfficeTeam. Grievances with line managers, or so called & lsquo;Horrible Boss Syndrome’ is regularly cited as the main reason for resignations – often ahead of salary and promotion demands.

The most obvious signs of a so-called & lsquo;horrible boss’ are individuals who yell at staff, take credit for others’ work and use offensive language in the workplace.  Although these are signs of unprofessional managers, OfficeTeam warns that the most common blunders supervisors make are often far less obvious.  But these mistakes can prove costly to the firm as the jobs market improves and the risk of staff turnover grows. Indeed, six in 10 (59%) executives are concerned that they will lose top performers over the coming months, according to recent research* by OfficeTeam.

“Staff morale is extremely important for the future of any organisation, said Phil Booth, managing director for OfficeTeam’s UK operations.  Many bosses work hard and expect their staff to follow suit. The problem arises when communication breaks down and, in most cases, harsh or abusive behaviour is the replacement.

“The common statement that & lsquo;people don’t quit jobs they quit managers’ has never being more true.  Supervisors need to forge both working and social relationships with employees. This doesn’t have to mean outside of work, but by creating a good working relationship, staff are happier within their roles and will ultimately work harder.”

In some cases, horrible bosses do not realise they are bad bosses. OfficeTeam has issued some guidance to ensure a more positive approach to management:

Welcoming honest feedback. Consider the way you handle failures. If someone’s approach to a task doesn’t go as well as anticipated, make sure you treat it as a learning experience rather than disapproving.

Ensuring Mum’s Not the Word. When you fail to keep employees in the loop, you’re essentially telling them that you doubt their ability to make creative and productive use of the information. While you may not be able to let them in on every detail about developments right away, try to reveal what you can when you can.

Letting go. While it’s good to stay on top of your employees’ progress, if you’re too “hands-on” with their assignments, you’re micro-managing. That can deplete morale because it says you don’t believe your staff can do their work properly.

Going MIA (missing in action). Make a point of setting aside time to interact with staff regularly and let them know how to best reach you when it’s particularly busy or when you’ll be out of the office. Consider assigning someone to serve as your backup when employees need advice during especially hectic times.

Phil Boothconcludes “Managers need to be confident and comfortable within their roles, delegating work in a clear and concise manner. Any critical feedback must be treated as a learning curve for employees and not delivered in a harsh and judgmental way.  Employees will follow the leader, so managers need to be energetic and enthusiastic about their work. 

“As the job market improves in many professions, managers need to make sure their behaviour isn’t giving staff a reason to consider looking for other opportunities.”


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