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Replacing a bad boss? Regain trust

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in Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers,People Management

You’re hired to manage cynical, discontented employees. Your first move: Iden­­tify the “keepers” and determine how to retain them. If you’re replacing a bad boss, top performers who haven’t already left may be about to quit.

People might tolerate a boring job or long commute, but they’re more apt to leave if they cannot stand their super­visor.

According to Florida State University (FSU) researchers who surveyed more than 700 employees, poor managers come in many forms. They steal credit, act immaturely and lack honor.

To regain employee trust after you’ve replaced an awful boss, take these steps:

• Uphold your promises. Nearly 40% of survey respondents said their supervisor failed to keep promises. By following through on your commitments, you show that your word carries weight.

• Share the credit. By recognizing everyone’s contribution to collective accomplishments, you validate individual effort.

• Resolve petty disputes. Bad bosses let personality conflicts fester. In the FSU survey, 31% of re­­spon­­dents said their manager gave them the “silent treatment” in the past year.

If you’re unhappy with someone’s actions or behavior, let them know. Directly and re­­spect­­fully talking with the employee achieves better results than staying silent.

• Avoid backstabbing. The survey found that 27% of supervisors spoke negatively about employees behind their backs. If you have a beef with someone, level with that individual.

• Give people their space. Nearly one-quarter of respondents said their supervisor invaded their privacy. To raise slipping morale, avoid snooping on employees’ Internet use. Set up systems to ensure compliance without being too intrusive.

— Adapted from “Employees leave managers, not companies,” Alaister Low, alaisterlow.com.

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