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80% of employees have experienced bad management

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Four-fifths (80%) of employees have experienced poor management or a poor manager at least once in their career

A YouGov and MHR survey of 2,006 employees found that 75% of workers who have experienced this have considered leaving a job, while 55% had actually quit their jobs because of bad management.

The research suggested a lack of people skills among managers, with 58% of respondents saying that they did not think managers were equipped to deal with the human or emotional sides of their jobs.

Bullying, micro-management and aggressive and threatening behaviour were all cited as examples of poor management. Others described managers as out of their depth, lacking the necessary people skills, and failing to offer recognition and feedback.

Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Alliance Manchester Business School, said that an insecure economic climate is partly to blame.

“I’m not surprised by the findings,” he told HR magazine. “Since the recession we’ve seen less job security, less social mobility, and consequently a more ruthless approach towards management. We have managers who have the skills, but don’t have the compassion or the emotional intelligence needed for the job."

Cooper said recruitment processes must be revised to test managers' interpersonal skills. “It’s important for employers to take their time over hiring a manager, and make sure that there are non-traditional assessments in place to ensure an organisation has the right person for them,” he said.

However, associate professor at Henley Business School Charmi Patel said employers must also consider supporting managers better to improve their people skills. “While it’s absolutely true that there are bad managers out there, most will improve over time with experience and support; like anyone else,” she said.

Patel also warned against placing unrealistic expectations on managers. “There is a danger that the expectations on managers are just too high. I have read research stating that there are 45 traits needed to make a good manager, which is unrealistic. No-one will ever have the same perception of good management,” she said.

“If we want to reduce poor management we should make sure that they are receiving the coaching, education and personal development they need to understand exactly what makes a good manager.”

The YouGov research was conducted on behalf of HR and payroll solutions provider MHR.