June 21st, 2012
Research tells us that most people take a new job because they are interested in the work, or the workplace. They like the responsibilities, or the work environment and they feel it fits who they are and what they like to do. But, why do most people leave a job? Because of poor management.
A Gallup poll of more 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that the No. 1 reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. Working for a bad boss takes a toll. What activities do bad bosses engage in? Badbossology.com lists some of the common bad boss behaviors:
- Harassment and discrimination
- Inadequate compensation
- Not respecting your legal rights
- Privacy invasion
Another recent survey about bullying in the workplace revealed that we don’t need to worry about this just on the playground and with schoolchildren – bullying is a very real problem in the workplace for adults also. Being bullied by someone in power who determines your salary increase or your bonus can be especially intimidating.
Are employees destined to suffer in silence, or get fed up and quit? Is there anything one can do if they find themselves working for the boss they hate? It’s definitely not easy, because of the power imbalance, but employees can influence their boss and their environment more than they might believe.
What are some steps to take if you have a boss that’s just plain bad?
1. Try to get into their shoes. Are they under a great deal of stress? Are they frustrated by something higher up in the organization? Is there a way for you to become an advocate, or a helper to them? Bosses are human too and may need your help. Take a minute to see if you can turn the tables at all.
2. Watch your “triggers.” It’s very difficult to work with someone who isn’t treating you fairly, but it’s important to figure out what about their behavior triggers you. Is it that you can’t stand to see people in power who are “jerks”? Is it that this boss is picking on you personally? Take some time to think about what impact the boss has on you and how it affects you. Then, having identified what these are, be aware of them “in the moment” and choose to respond differently.
3. Network within your company. Find other support systems, get to know new people, so that others in the organization know who you are and what you can do. When you are “known” to others for your contribution and your competency, the boss can’t hurt you as much and it may also open up other options down the road.
4. In a small company, network in a similar fashion but do it outside of the company with others in your industry. Spend time making connections and becoming known to others.
5. Look at behavioral differences. Do you and the boss have different ways you communicate? Is he or she a thinker, and you are a talker? Is he or she more forceful and you are more quiet and laid back? To the degree you can modify your style to become more like the boss, you will find communicating a bit easier and probably more effective. Listen to our podcasts on behavior style or go to our behavioral tools page for more on this.
Dealing with a bad boss is definitely difficult but don’t flee your workplace until you try to open up some other options and see if you can’t change the situation just a bit.
June 25th, 2010
It always happens — the economy recovers from recession, and then what was a very loose labor market all of a sudden becomes very tight. Whether yours is a services or technology firm, you’ll likely encounter obstacles in finding, retaining and training top talent. As the industry emerges from the economic doldrums of recent years, these issues confront managers in many functional areas.
For young or rapidly growing (or trying to) firms, obstacles to hiring and retaining top talent begin with a lack of emphasis on some very fundamental building blocks. Often, as these firms look to gain traction during the “all hands on deck” exigencies of day-to-day business, a firm foundation for future growth and stability is an early casualty.
The crucial foundation starts with definitions around expectations. Many salespeople — especially the stars — leave over unclear goals, conflicts about territory or compensation, and miscommunication in general. These problems are easily rectified, but only if the requisite time is spent up front on job descriptions and compensation plans, and then communication through performance reviews (both formal and informal) continues throughout the year.
To many hiring managers, hiring is just a “gut feel” and much more “art” than “science.” The hiring process then reflects this casual attitude, and even if the candidate does come aboard, too much has been left to chance. Conducting rigorous interviewing and reference checking are important pieces. “Science” can be brought into the process by using behavior style assessment tools such as DISC to align the candidate’s behavior style with the style required by the job, and to indicate areas of mismatch that should be further investigated. No part of this process is perfunctory, and while it takes more upfront time, the payoff is longer-tenured and happier employees.
Another foundational element in motivating sales stars is showing them that key functions supporting them, such as marketing, client service and sales support have been implemented — or that at least there’s outsourced support until the firm can build these functions internally. While management may desire to have sales execs closing business out in the market, organizational reality often precludes this. Time and again we see sales execs spending much of their time — more than what they signed up for — supporting clients, writing marketing copy and doing other non-sales activities that are at odds with their job description, compensation plan and skill set (not to mention their behavior style!). Outside resources can provide many of these support functions when there are no funds to hire for these roles.
You’ve now done the hard work to bring in top talent and to remove obstacles that keep them from doing what they love, and everyone’s making money. But the best salespeople want to learn and grow, and you need to build the backbench for firm growth. This means that training and other forms of learning must be offered to retain and build your team.
If training funds are limited, one low-cost way is call upon internal experts. One software firm did this by starting a “university” and bringing in “professors” in teaching sales and industry fundamentals. A combination of recognition and monetary rewards usually motivates budding