The not-so-good, bad and ugly of management

Angry manager
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A good manager should make people feel appreciated, valued and respected. Good managers build positive relationships with their teams and a culture of trust and engagement which motivates people to do well. A poor manager, on the other hand, can make employees feel under-valued, demotivated and demoralised. Employees with poor managers work in an environment where trust and engagement are lacking and performance is low.

In our 2014 survey (representing over 180,000 employees) we looked at what employees in some low trust organisations – those that didn’t make the Best Workplaces rankings - said about their managers.

Their comments make sobering reading but provide HR and senior management with an inside view of what employees want from their managers. And if you weren’t sure what was important for employee engagement, these selected comments should give you some insight…

…some line managers NEVER recognise their team members for excellent work.

We are not valued for the pressures we are under and are very quick to be told off by managers who have no idea of what we do.

Managers need to be more active in recognising the extra efforts of their teams and make more of an effort to connect with their employees.

Our current managers are too busy with their other responsibilities to effectively manage their people.

Managers often talk about concepts like ‘empowerment’ but few back them up by giving employees real decision authority in their jobs (walking the talk).

…a little more respect from the manufacturing manager please; he has his favourites and his not-so-favourites are treated very disrespectfully.

…management have favourites and make it blatantly obvious. Rules should be set across the board and be kept in place for each and every individual person - i.e. not having one rule for one member of staff and another for the others. Fairness is key and will keep everybody happier!

Many managers have zero management training.  Most are promoted from their career choice… either provide better managers or provide the necessary training.

My manager is very controlling and often speaks down to us. If there was one thing I would change it would be him, which would lift morale no end.

I feel management should be positive and encourage team work but most of them aren't bothered - how are people lower down the chain meant to feel motivated when management aren't?

Managers should treat regular staff fairly, not speak down to them, respect our views on things related to our workplace and listen to what we have to say. 

I would like management to listen more to staff ideas, concerns and general points of view as the staff are the ones that are on the ground working and liaising with the customers on a daily basis. 

…management should tell the truth when asked questions and keep staff informed of any changes.

I would like to feel trusted and not feel like I’m being watched over my shoulder constantly as I have been in the job so many years my managers know that I am trustworthy and reliable.

…too many managers without a clear understanding of the roles they manage, without an understanding of the service we deliver, or an ability to properly manage staff, responsibilities or stress levels.

The way certain managers treat their staff is appalling. There is no sense of mutual respect.

There is too much favouritism based on who you know, are you in with the right crowd and whether your face fits or not.

Unfortunately there is a management clique which has a negative impact on staff morale. Staff feel undervalued, frustrated and weary of their managers. Motivation is affected as the expectation is new opportunities or training will be allocated to those in the clique while those outside of the circle will not be developed.

In my opinion, in my 5 years working here, this is the worst year we have experienced as far as favouritism, unfairness, unbalanced workload, etc. I have been told multiple years in a row that I am on the training plan for next year but have yet to be sent to any training that I have asked to attend.

I can’t believe nothing has been done about my manager. He treats those who work for him very poorly, with distain, distrust - he has no respect for us and shows it. I do not feel valued, I feel oppressed. The worst thing is, that nothing will be done about it.

Respected, recognised, valued. These are some of the most important things employees need to feel; having a manager who is fair and does what they said they would is critical too. Improving managers’ people skills can be as simple – and immediate - as acknowledging employees and recognising their achievements. This would go a long way to making each employee feel a valued member of the team. 

About Helen Wright

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