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Ineffective line managers ruin everything

9 Jun 2015 - Blog

Ineffective line managers ruin everything

As we said in our previous post, ‘Why bother with line managers if we won’t nurture them?’, which looked at the five most common crucial factors for engagement line managers lack, we know that many organisations have a problem with bad management. We also know that many of us have been at the hands of bad managers. In fact, it’s become so common that we even have popular TV shows, made so because we can relate to the pain of the employees, ridiculing the fact.

There have been many articles written about the impact bad management can have on employees, but it seems this is still a serious issue.

I can’t help but wonder if perhaps many of us don’t understand the impact bad management can truly have on engagement across the whole organisation.


Employees suffer first

Many of us know that people who manage others ineffectively can cause employees to feel demotivated. This results in:

  1. People who don’t want to come to work causing increased levels of tardiness and absenteeism;
  2. Increased stress levels in employees – further contributing to absenteeism and reducing productivity;
  3. People being more likely to want to leave the organisation.

These are a given, and I believe most people understand these elements. This should be enough to encourage leaders to invest more in developing, and spend more time choosing, effective managers to lead their teams. It seems this isn’t so. 


In what other ways does bad management impact business?

  • Your employees won’t develop, therefore neither will your organisation – if managers don’t stretch employees to learn new skills, put them forward for training or suggest they work in other parts of an organisation to learn ways of working, they won’t grow, which means your organisation won’t change. In a constantly changing world, this is not a good place to be.
  • You won’t innovate – if employees are not inspired by the workplace or don’t feel safe to be creative to achieve new solutions to old ways of working, they will just do what they’ve always done to get the job finished. No extra effort, no new ideas; they will be rushing out of the door at 5.30 on the dot.
  • One bad hire attracts more – ineffective managers are likely to recruit ineffective employees. Bad managers are unlikely to understand the needs of the team or business and so will hire the people they like best. We tend to hire people like ourselves… This results in increased costs to the business and further impacts the morale of the rest of the team.
  • Your customers are out of there! – If customers are not treated well, due to being served by unhappy, demotivated and stressed employees, they will leave and look to have their needs met elsewhere.
  • It’s like a game of lost in translation – any messages that come from senior leaders are likely to get lost, misinterpreted, or worse, changed to suit the manager who is out to serve themselves rather than their team or the business as a whole.


They impact the whole organisation!

Ultimately, bad management can cause the organisation to breakdown. Managers, often in the middle of an organisation, can send toxicity both up and down the organisation, or, in a flatter structure, across the organisation.

“Remember, a bad apple doesn’t stay bad alone, it soon infects the rest of the fruit bowl.”


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