I wish that was the prediction for most employees. Experience has taught me that it is unlikely most employees will experience even trustworthy management, much less great management. A new survey reported by Brent Kallestad of the Associated Press seems to add some substance to my guess.
Nearly two of five bosses don't keep their word and more than a fourth bad mouth those they supervise to co-workers, the Florida State University study shows.
And those all-too-common poor managers create plenty of problems for companies as well, leading to poor morale, less production and higher turnover.
If you have worked in the business world, the odds are that you have experienced a bad boss. While I don't have a survey to back it up, most bad bosses tend to move around until they find a spot where either no one in upper management cares, or they're running the whole ship until it sinks or runs aground. A bad boss doesn't necessarily translate into a bad company or one where you should avoid their products and services. It just means working there might be a challenge if you get on the wrong side of the guy or gal with power who might have even gotten his or her lofty position by being a little loose with the truth.
The American system is set up right now so that it is very hard to weed out bad bosses. It is highly unlikely that companies will say anything negative about former employees for fear of a lawsuit. Even if they find a spot internally for a weasel boss, the problems are likely to be ignored. Speaking of weasels, Scott Adams of Dilbert fame has posted the annual 2006 weasel list.
Most companies have great difficulty in identifying competence much less hiring it. Executives tend to like people who remind them of themselves or assume that the guy who is fun to golf with might also be a great executive. Defining what needs to be done, recognizing that it has been done well, and rewarding that good job is a challenge. Even acknowledging good work is a problem for some bosses. Saying thanks for a job well done, is one of the cheapest ways to motivate people, but that still doesn't make it easy to do for some.
I have seen teams willing to work unbelievable hours become completely unmotivated when a bad boss arrived on the scene. Making promises that never will be kept is the fastest way I know to deflate motivation. Some bosses immediately feel threatened by any competent employees and will often go to great lengths to ensure that no one outshines them. That just perpetuates bad management.
The reality is that defining, finding, hiring, and keeping competent hardworking people is a huge challenge once you factor in company culture, personalities, and changing job requirements. It's no wonder that a lot of very competent people steer clear of management roles. Those jobs are often surrounded by hidden minefields and involve a lot of thankless work.
This morning I noticed in a NY Times article, "Google Answer to Filling Jobs Is an Algorithm," that Google has tried to reduce hiring to something of a science. That probably works as well as anything. It's pretty clear that interviews are an inexact science at best.
Desperate to hire more engineers and sales representatives to staff its rapidly growing search and advertising business, Google â€” in typical eccentric fashion â€” has created an automated way to search for talent among the more than 100,000 job applications it receives each month. It is starting to ask job applicants to fill out an elaborate online survey that explores their attitudes, behavior, personality and biographical details going back to high school.
Of course most companies don't have the luxury of Google's 100,000 applications, so sometimes they take the best that they can find which sometimes ends up working pretty well in the end. Sometimes the best employee on paper or the one who comes through the interviews the best turns out to be a poor fit for one reason or another. In truth giving competent people at shot at proving themselves works pretty well.
Having a successful team is a complex equation, but one thing is for sure, a boss who can't keep his commitments or continually changes his mind doesn't make life any easier for the company or the employees.