Would you be surprised that barely 50% of all employees are strongly satisfied with their direct supervisor? We sure were. But that was one of many surprising findings from our 2014 Employee Engagement & Organizational Culture Report. Ouch!
Your organization probably faces this bad boss dynamic too, so don’t let yourself ignore this data.
Do you know if the direct managers in your organization are good? Bad? Awful? Do you have any idea? Knowledge is power, and ignorance of this key piece of information will only hurt you.
So how do you get started? How about actually asking your employees. If you give them an anonymous survey platform to share candid information, you can be assured they’ll tell you the truth.
Consider using some of the following questions in your survey:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the performance of your direct supervisor?
Do you feel that your manager has clearly defined your roles and responsibilities and how it contributes to the success of the organization?
Do you feel your manager provides mentorship and guidance?
Has your manager communicated the path to career advancement in your particular field?
You can be assured that positive scores are indicators of managers that don’t micromanage, offer mentorship and regular appreciation, and frequently meet with their direct reports.
And those bad bosses? You’ll find they consistently have the following traits:
Are poor communicators: You know those bosses that just assume employees know what they want? Yup, they get the bad boss title. If you don't communicate expectations and deadlines, you're the dud. Not your employees.
Don’t offer guidance and mentorship: Managers are supposed to be the experienced ones. They're supposed to be there to guide junior team members. Those that forget this role are doing a major disservice to their team.
Aren’t available for help or questions: Is the door always shut? Is a boss always away at a meeting? Do they never make time to talk about projects? There's another bad boss for you.
Don't offer recognition or appreciation: Saying thank you is not very hard to do. Bosses with low ratings forget to say thank you, or they might think it’s unnecessary and superfluous. That's just silly.
The point of this exercise is not to point fingers. Instead, it’s to understand where you need to invest time and resources to help these bosses out. They clearly had the industry chops to be promoted to manager. Now it’s time to help them with the soft skills that will make them the kind of bos that foster trust, enthusiasm, and engagement.