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07 March 2008

Deal's Management Law

Deal's Management Law -- Bad management drives out good.

Taken to a more descriptive level, Bad Management drives out good people, innovation, productivity and ultimately profits. Yet astonishingly, may organizations are blind to this and place bad managers in a position to do grievous harm. And those bad managers don't disappoint do they?

In our earlier discussion about harpooning the whale, we mentioned some of those bad managers in the context of being arrogant driven, harpoon worthy buffoons. We'll wait while some of you go read it and get caught up.


40% of respondents to a recent survey in Europe cited "Bad Management" as the issue that makes them the most angry with their job. Even if you take out the perpetually unhappy employee, there is still a considerable number of folks who are negatively influenced by crappy managers. By any measure, angry employees are not a good thing. Just ask the postal service.

In 2007, Florida State University conducted a more comprehensive study, which corroborated the European findings and discovered virtually the same level of discontent due to to poor management.

According to their research, 40% of employees believe that they work for bad bosses. Broken down further:

39% said their managers failed to keep promises.
37% said their bosses did not give them the credit they deserved.
31% indicated their supervisor gave them "the silent treatment."
27% reported negative comments from their management.
24% claimed their bosses invaded their privacy.
23% stated that their supervisor blamed them or other workers to cover up personal mistakes.

The first statistic to me is the most troubling. Lacking grace, civility and even humility can be corrected with enough patience, leadership and training. But making a promise and not keeping it is a trust issue, plain and simple. And without trust, you have nothing. It is a miracle some of these companies even exist!

I recall a supervisor who would ask us each year what we wanted to accomplish that next year, both personally and professionally. In retrospect, he was merely citing that approach from his Manager 101 book since we all became highly invested in our goals, thinking that we might actually achieve something noteworthy to every one's benefit. But alas, it was not be. He did not fund any of our initiatives, did not follow up with any of our requests and did not share credit for any noteworthy accomplishment we produced in spite of him. And there was never another word that came out of his mouth that was trusted...

So if, according to Deal, Bad Management is against the law (Deal's Law anyway), why can't bad managers be charged with a crime and then punished?


Dana said...

My experience has always been that employers presumed good workers would be good managers. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case, yet employers continue to promote people into management based on skill sets having nothing to do with management.

Michael M. said...

Touche Dana. The Peter Principal at its finest.

"No man is fit to command another that cannot command himself."
- William Penn

L.A. Mama said...

As a person who was the best and most experienced on my team...I was given the job to train my new supervisor after my boss transferred to a different location.

For NINE months I tried to teach her the nitty gritty aspects of locating non-custodial parents for Child Support Fnforcement AND quality assurance for all aspects of Child Support Enforcement and lead the rest of the team down the road to success.

Months after I left this company to be a stay at home mom, I continued to receive calls from her. She had no clue what to do. I no longer felt as though my knowledge, experience and advice should be delivered free of charge. They should have hired me in the first place. They knew I was the best...but oh well. can already feel the frustration can't you?

Tismee2 said...

I have one of these!

Personally I have avoided her silent treatment - but I'm wondering if it's just that I prefer to be left alone to get on with the job I know I can do without her interference and don't even notice I'm getting ignored!

I don't even expect her to remember what she promised. I just get on with it and go with the flow. Anything extra is a bonus.

One of my colleagues finds the situation really stressful. She takes it all personally.

Despite complaints and staff sickness for stress - she is still there - amazing.

Kat Wilder said...

Michael, I, too, had a manager who was "bad" — my first female boss. Throw in jealousy in your bad boss mix.

You ask: So if, according to Deal, Bad Management is against the law (Deal's Law anyway), why can't bad managers be charged with a crime and then punished?

Don't know, but in my case anyway, there seemed to be karmic justice, as a few years after I left, she was transferred to what all in the industry considered the boondocks. So there you go ...

Laura said...

Would you like me to comment on management styles? I have a unique perspective, wouldn't you say?

Michael M. said...

laMama: Another manager promoted to their level of incompetence.....

You are nice. Many people would have sent a bill for consultation for being bothered at home. :)

Michael M. said...

Gail: astonishing. Makes one wonder if that boss has some compromising pictures of the big boss or something, eh?

Somebody there should read the stats on what it costs to replace people v. retain people before that bad boss chases off too many good folks!

Michael M. said...

Kat: Did you work for the Catholic Church?!? :)

Those poor boondocks....

Michael M. said...


Yes, you do have a unique perspective. :)

I figured you would still be in therapy after all those years working for me. So, they give you computer access in the asylum? :)

[The reality is that no boss of any type can ever, ever, ever be defined as good - or even marginal - unless there are good & dedicated people to support them....and Laura is an example of the best support there is.]

Glad to 'see' ya....

laughin said...

Interesting post.

The thing I find from the worst bosses are the following:

1 - One who is always in your stuff
2 - One who is a "yes man" to his boss
3 - One who is NEVER in your stuff

There has to be a happy medium.

BTW, have you read about High Performance Organizations? It is the new thing now in management.

Michael M. said...

Thanks Laughlin.

Aren't all organizations supposed to be High Performance?!?!? :)