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Poor Leadership Hurts an Entire Company

Negative behavior from a supervisor can impact an entire team.

You've probably noticed that employees produce their best work and are the most productive when they're managed by strong, well-liked supervisors. When a team is run by a manager who's friendly, approachable and willing to help, morale can shoot through the roof. That's not just a good thing for employees, it's also great news for a firm. Employees satisfied with their jobs and highly motivated to do a good job are more likely to stay in their positions, meaning a company doesn't need to worry about consistently hiring and training new workers. Placing help wanted ads, sifting through resumes, conducting interviews and spending time training new hires on a consistent basis is exhausting - not to mention a tremendous waste of resources. 

Poor leadership impacts employee well-being 
A study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology in late 2012 indicates just how significantly bad bosses can impact employee work, mental health and physical well being. It found that the more negative behavior supervisors exhibited, the less happy workers were. Bosses who attempted to control or dominate workers had many dissatisfied employees. On the other hand, managers who encouraged their teams and asked them to contribute had happier workers. 

Negative atmosphere can spread through the office 
A new study in the Journal of Social Psychology revealed just how great of an impact negative bosses can have on an office environment. It turns out even if a supervisor bullies or is abusive to just one employee, this atmosphere can poison an entire office, making the workplace an uncomfortable place for everyone. Even if employees don't personally witness abusive behavior but hear about it through office gossip, it's still likely to impact them in some way. 

Recognizing and addressing managerial bullying
Employee bullying is sometimes hard to recognize, especially if a supervisor finds fault with just one employee. This type of intimidation is nearly always emotional or psychological, the types of bullying that don't leave physical evidence. However, there are things managerial teams can look for to determine if one of their supervisors is contributing to a toxic office environment.

Ask employees for reviews. If your company regularly has workers fill out self reviews or performance assessments, include a section for them to provide feedback about their immediate supervisors. Suspect your employees may not be entirely truthful or let on that they know of office bullying? Try an anonymous review that allows workers to write in about any negative behaviors without fear of retaliation. 

Take note of office morale. If you notice employees don't look pleased to be at work or go out of their way to avoid a supervisor, it may indicate there's a problem within the department. The same goes for high employee turnover rates; if workers are leaving the company on a consistent basis and you know your training process and company processes aren't the reason, it may be time to check up on how a manager is handling their team. It's possible you'll hear a rumor through office gossip, but be extremely cautious about proceeding with stories of bullying that aren't substantiated with any facts.

Confront the issue. It can be hard to tell a talented supervisor their management techniques aren't acceptable, especially if you have no proof they're doing any bullying. However, addressing the issue is essential. Keep in mind some supervisors may have no idea their behavior is having a negative impact on their team, and that a simple refresher of acceptable supervisory techniques may be enough to get an employee to change their behavior. Strict measures are sometimes necessary, but it's important to give a manager a chance to redeem themselves before making any decisions in regard to termination.

Have you encountered problems with negative office supervisors? How did you handle the situation?