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Toxic Bosses Cost Billions

Are Toxic Bosses Costing Your Business?

A toxic boss can cost.

According to a recent study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), 60% of employees who quit their jobs do so because they had toxic bosses. SHRM estimates that the annual cost of employee turnover to the US economy is $223 billion dollars. These exorbitant costs are attributed mostly to mid-level leadership failures. Typical symptoms of a toxic workplace are employees that dread going into work; employees feeling that they have no safe way to voice their opinions about work related issues; employees believing that they are not being respected or valued at work; and increased absenteeism caused by stress.

SHRM’s survey identified the following boss behavior styles that are most commonly the cause of turnover and litigation:

1) The Know it All: A boss who does not listen to her subordinates because she “already knows” the answer. This kind of leader kills initiative.

2) Yeller and Screamer: A surprisingly common problem which can only be solved at a level above the misbehaving supervisor.

3) Cover Myself: This manager is most concerned with protecting his/her job, and has few allies within the firm because they can’t be trusted. A boss like this has a direct impact on the bottom line.

4) Best Friend: While there will be few employee complaints about a nice boss, discipline and productivity are doomed in the long-run.

In my experience litigating employment law cases over many years, I reached the conclusion that the leading cause of workplace strife is poor communication skills in mid-management. There are a variety of explanations for this observation, but I believe that companies are failing to recognize that supervision is a skill that can be learned. Most supervisors don’t decide to be toxic. Rather, many supervisors rose through the ranks, and simply have not acquired the skills to lead their coworkers or the self-awareness necessary to lead themselves.

Part of the problem is the common but mistaken assumption that someone who does a job well can also lead people doing the same job well. Doing and leading are two different skill sets and the first step to avoiding a toxic workplace is avoiding that mistake. The second step is evaluating the current leadership skills of your incumbent mid-level managers. This can be done using a variety of methods, including surveys, interviews and psychological assessments such as DISC profiles. The objective is to find out which skills managers are lacking and to devise a plan to enhance their effectiveness through group training, facilitated discussions, role- playing sessions and individualized coaching. HR Risk Advisors teaches supervisors to effectively supervise and contribute to the firm’s productivity and profits. Supervisors are taught to recognize their style of leadership and to enhance their strengths and team building skills. HR Risk Advisors customizes the training to meet the particular needs of our clients and their industries.

Are you concerned about your firm’s supervisors? Are they under-utilized, or worse, a drain on profits? HR Risk Advisors can help your firm prosper through effective training of your supervisors.