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4 Early-Warning Signs of a Problem Manager

Posted by Bob Corlett on October 21, 2015

A few years ago, the caliber of your management team was not a public matter. Your internal disagreements stayed private. Outsiders rarely knew whether or not you had few bad apples on your leadership team.

Frankly, if most of your managers were good, you could get away with a few who were not-so-good. HR only needed (or wanted) to intervene if you were going to be sued.

It was a pretty low bar. Now those days are gone. Having 80 percent good (or good-ish) managers doesn't cut it anymore.

Thanks to employer reputation sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, one bad manager with frequent employee turnover can make your entire organization look like a bad place to work.

Because of the increasing visibility of internal management problems, there has been a huge growth in the demand for executive coaching. Sharon Armstrong, co-author of "The Essential HR Handbook," noted that some managers are great at achieving company goals, but may be leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

She wrote, "Some managers are well-liked but not terrifically effective. But most managers need coaching to become both effective at getting results and effective at developing people. Having consistently good managers is the key to maintaining a good reputation as a place to work. And that means you need to invest in the development of your managers."

Signs of a management problem

Here are a few early warning indicators that indicate when you might want to get coaching for your managers:

  1. Their business results are not fast enough, large enough or up to the standard needed.
  2. You see obvious internal disagreement as to which problems should be solved, lack of clarity about the goals, and disagreements about the priority of the work.
  3. There is a breakdown in civility, common courtesy and respect among team members, and obvious signs of stress, frustration and anger.
  4. There is a tendency to blame problems on a person instead of looking at systemic issues.


 To gain more perspective on performance management and employee turnover, visit "What Drives Employee Retention and Employee Turnover?" 

For more on employer reputation, read How Employer Reputation Affects Senior Executive Careers, or download our Viewpoint Document on The Glassdoor Impact.

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This article originally appeared in The Business Journals

Topics: Performance Management, Employer Reputation, Employee Turnover