Good Boss, Bad Boss
“No one ever left an organisation, they leave Managers”, I heard this said recently at a seminar I was attending. I have heard it said many many times before and have, on occasion, said something similar myself. In part, I think it is true but it is not as black and white as was made out when I heard it recently. Managers hold a huge responsibility in how they manage and engage with each and every person who works with them and for them. People leave jobs for many different reasons, one of those reasons is bad management.
I started a new job 9 years ago. I was excited, enthusiastic, ready to take on the new role and all it had to offer. It looked like an excellent challenge for me whilst playing to my skill set. I started the role and was introduced to my new supervisor. The role was a field based role and I was to manage me own region, no direct reports and lot’s of internal customers. I set about my action plan to get introduced and build relationships with this group of people who I would be working so closely with. My supervisor had a very different idea. She called me constantly, sometimes every hour, to check what I was doing. She demanded that I send her updates on the hour if I had spoken with her. Then she would call the people I had had appointments with to check if my report back was accurate.
Great, I was being micromanaged… I would have been ok with this if she was micromanaging the areas where I may have needed close supervision, the areas that I need to learn. Not the areas that I was already competent at. After a while I began to realise that I was doing my best to avoid her. I was actually spending more time thinking up things to report back on rather than actually doing my job.
It continued over several weeks to the point where, for the first time in my life, I woke up one morning and didn’t want to go to work. At this point I dis-engaged with my job. This must have been obviously as this is when her behaviours got worse.
Luckily, the situation was fixed after the supervisor moved on to a different role. I got a new manager, who seemed to get who I was and what I was capable of. I went on to be massively successful in my role after a while being promoted to managing a team and over the years at the company I became the head of the department. I got off to such a rocky start I wasn’t even expecting to stay much past my probation period.
The difference between my Best Boss and my Worst Boss was really quite simple but quite hard to master. As I said, managers have a huge responsibility around engaging with each person who works for them and by doing so will develop high performing teams. My Best Boss, who to this day remains my best boss example, even now when I work for myself she is still around checking in. A best boss is for life not just for a job.
She was full aware of my capability, she took the time to understand me and what I was capable of doing. She knew my confidence levels and how committed I was to each and every task I needed to perform. She delegated work she knew I could do it and directed when I needed to be told what to do. Even in the times when I wasn’t even sure I needed to be told. This is what makes a great boss, she engaged with me and aided my engagement with my role and the business. I was challenged and loved every minute of my job. I was a high performing team member and together we achieved more than we had ever expected.
So, maybe not everyone leaves an organisation because their boss is a bad one. However, everyone who has a bad boss will not be achieving the level of performance they need to meet the businesses expectations. When your not achieving it is a sad fact that the bad boss gets worse, I know, I have been there and see it all the time with the organisation I work with.
It is not always the fault of the Bad boss either. To many organisation place the blame on the bad boss and tend to not look at the situation they have out that person in. The supervisor i was working for was totally out of her depth and did not have the skills and capability needed to manage people. When she moved on to another role, one that played to her skills set she began to perform well, removed the stress she was under and went on to bigger and better things herself.
Do the managers in your business have the skill set to perform? Do they manage each individual in exactly the way they need and create high levels of engagement, in turn delivering a High Performance Culture?
If not, what are you doing in order to develop the skill’s and behaviors needed?