Are You Meant to Be a Manager?

Jekyll AND Hyde Management

I have a good friend who started a new job less than three weeks ago, and he’s considering quitting. So are the other staff that work there. Their workload is fine, their working conditions are adequate, their boss is intelligent and creative, they’re being trained effectively by a business consultant who makes weekly visits, and their customers are no different than yours or mine. They get paid on time… so what would drive them all out?

Simply put, their boss has a mercurial personality. The same person who praised you yesterday may go for your throat first thing in the morning. His mood swings are making them all crazy. Those of you who are pet owners know that training a puppy requires consistency and patience. If you cuddle and pet the pup most of the time, but randomly assault it unexpectedly, you’ll make it nuts. And that’s what’s happening to the staff in my friend’s office.

I’m sure this manager tells himself he’s “keeping them on their toes” or “motivating them”. What he’s doing is making their work life horrible, and he’ll never retain staff for long. If he can’t retain staff, recruiting costs will be high, productivity will be low, and his customers will see the constant turnover and hesitate to do business with his company.

Not Everyone Can be a Direct Manager

A Gallup poll of more 1 million employed U.S. workers concluded that a bad boss or immediate supervisor is the Number 1 Reason people quit their jobs.

“People leave managers not companies…in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue,” Gallup wrote in its survey findings. The effect of poor management is widely felt. Gallup also determined that poorly managed work groups are on average 50 percent less productive and 44 percent less profitable than well-managed groups.

In May, Report on Business reported that a Canadian survey of more than 1,600 respondents  suggested a lack of trust in senior leaders is the main factor in people quitting their jobs.

It’s My Company And I Can Do What I Want

There’s no doubt that some people running businesses place more value on feeding their egos than making a profit, but unless you are one of them, it’s worth asking yourself a few honest questions. Your head may lie about the answers, but your heart won’t, if you really listen. Your profits will thank you.

  • Is my staff turnover higher than typical for my industry?
  • Do my staff trust me enough to criticize or disagree with me?
  • Do I treat my staff with respect, consistently?
  • If my staff could fire me and replace me, would they?

If you need improvement in this area, work on it. Read a book. Take a course. Get a coach. If direct management of staff is really not in your skill-set, have someone else manage your staff who can do it effectively. That will allow you to learn from them, if you choose, and cushion your staff from you. Go do what you do best, and let someone else do what you don’t.

See Also

The Report on Business related story

This entry was posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009 at 12:52 pm and is filed under Leadership, Management, Self-Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  1. Have you ever considered creating an e-book or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  2. Karen says:

    It is sad to know that there are abusive managers out their that cost other employees jobs. This kind of attitude should not be tolerated.


Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge