Many employees don't speak up about their abusive managers because they worry human resources won't take their complaints seriously. Unfortunately, research shows that abusive managers harm their companies by reducing morale and forcing some employees to look elsewhere for work. Even after employees leave, they have difficulty recovering from the emotional damage of working for toxic bosses. If your company has any of these problems, address them immediately to avoid losing valued employees.
One way abusive managers hurt their organizations is by creating a lot of conflict. Good managers help employees resolve conflict and work together as a team, while bad managers pit people against each other. Otherwise helpful employees might be tempted to sabotage each other or blame each other for mistakes just to escape the wrath of an abusive boss. When employees are constantly looking for ways to avoid being berated, they often resort to tactics that don't foster a sense of collaboration.
Reduced productivity is also a problem associated with working for toxic bosses. If a manager spends 30 minutes screaming at an employee for a minor mistake, the employee is unable to do any work during that time. Employees who are forced to work with abusive bosses may also spend a lot of time talking about the bad behavior instead of concentrating on their work. If your company does not deal with abusive managers immediately, you might see a real decline in productivity.
A research study led by Crystal Farh, a lead investigator, indicates that working with abusive managers also has widespread behavioral effects. Employees often model the behavior displayed by supervisors and managers. An employee with a fair, consistent manager is likely to model these traits when he moves into a leadership role. If an employee has a manager who screams at people and threatens their jobs on a daily basis, he is more likely to model these behaviors when leading his own team.
Abusive managers also create a lot of extra work for the human resources department, costing the company money and reducing employee satisfaction. Companies with abusive bosses tend to have higher turnover rates, which means the HR department has to spend more money to place job advertisements, screen applications, interview candidates and take new employees through the orientation process. Allowing an abusive manager to treat employees badly can also hurt a company's reputation. Once word gets out about the behavior, good candidates will be less likely to apply for job openings.
If your employees have been complaining about the way their manager treats them, take time to investigate their complaints. Toxic bosses create conflict, reduce productivity, model bad behavior to their direct reports and make it difficult to attract talented employees. Prevent damage to your company's reputation by stopping abusive managers in their tracks and hiring good managers to lead company teams.
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