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It seems ridiculous to me that virtually 100 percent of organizations knowingly employ people in an important role who are not good at performing this vital function. To highlight how silly this is, after hospital employees tell me they have bad managers, I ask, “Do you have bad surgeons?” Of course not. A couple of years ago I did some work with an airline. After admitting they had bad managers, I asked if they employed bad pilots. They assured me it was a silly question.
We know why it is foolish to employ bad surgeons or bad pilots. Such practices would be bad for business and could result in deaths. But isn’t it bad for businesses to employ bad managers?
consequences of bad managers. We have known for decades that the number one reason people leave organizations is their immediate supervisors. “People don’t leave organizations, they leave managers” has become a common refrain. Another oft-heard truism is “People are our most valuable asset.” So why are we allowing these bad managers to drive away from our most valuable asset? A good rule of thumb is that the loss of a talented employee costs the organization one and a half times the employee’s annual salary in replacement costs and lost productivity. If managers recklessly squander the financial resources of our companies, they are fired with good cause. But if they squander our human resources, they are allowed to continue to do so indefinitely.
Harmful workplace practices are one of the leading causes of stress in the workplace and this results in $190 billion in healthcare costs in the U.S. each year. More importantly, workplace stress leads to 120,000 annual deaths, more than kidney disease or Alzheimer’s.
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