National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

Don’t Lose Your Good Employees Because of a Bad Boss

People don’t quit their jobs…they quit their bosses.

In the movie, Horrible Bosses, employees consider unique and unacceptable ways of getting out from under terrible, abusive supervisors. Fortunately, that’s not the way people handle that situation. Unfortunately, the employee usually ends up leaving the company. If the person was, by all accounts, a good employee, the company is now faced with hiring someone new which costs the company in terms of both time and money.

Since, with so many different jobs and salaries, it’s hard to estimate the cost of replacing a good worker. Forbes provides an estimate that sets the cost of replacing an entry-level position at 50 percent of salary; a mid-level position at 125 percent of salary and a senior executive at more than 200 percent of salary. Since we usually don’t find senior executives leaving because of someone above them exhibiting bad behavior, it’s those entry and mid-level positions that we need to be concerned about. Besides money, there is also the issue of time…depending on the position, time will be needed to train a new hire…and to get them up to speed. If the bad boss is a bad boss to most people, this situation can become a virtual rollercoaster with continuing ups and downs.

Right now, during the pandemic, when so many people are unemployed, those who are working may be willing to put up with an abusive or unsupportive supervisor until things change. But when an uptick occurs, they may be the first people headed for the door. I recently posted an IdeaXchange blog that deals with this problem. I decided to pursue this a bit further.

A Randstad USA survey found that sixty percent of respondents had left jobs, or considered leaving, when they didn’t like the direct supervisors. And when questioned further, it appears that it isn’t so much some horrible act committed or word uttered by the supervisor; instead is was the lack of respect, the intended disrespect that caused workers to consider leaving and then…doing so.

A Forbes article from 2019 lists a number of things that identify bad boss behavior. Many of these really aren’t acts of terrible behavior but more a lack of consideration for what others can and should contribute. Bad bosses:

  • Micromanage and control everything to the diminution of the employee
  • Never solicit input from their subordinates
  • Are always looking for a “yes” and refusing to accept a “no”
  • Refuse to provide resources and, instead, set up roadblocks to success
  • Display unethical behavior
  • Thrive in chaos
  • Never accept accountability for anything that goes wrong but take the credit for anything positive
  • Demote or promote staff based on how employees react to them. Employees that support a bad boss’s behavior get promoted; those that do not end up getting the short straw
  • Create hostile and toxic environments  

I didn’t even mention the acts of sexual harassment or abuse as those are really so hostile that, at least in today’s business environment, often lead to the firing of the abuser. But a toxic environment is bad for the whole business, not just the division or section being headed by this bad supervisor. If turnover in a specific area is far ahead of other areas, it’s up to HR and senior management to take a close look at why this is happening and try to rehabilitate the bad boss with training and leadership development. If that does not prove helpful then your only option to save the company overall may be to terminate the one “bad apple” that is poisoning the entire orchard.

Read my blog for more ways to identify both good and bad bosses.

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