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Lead Your Team Managing

One-Third of Employees Say Managers are Incompetent

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A third of all employees think their managers are completely or somewhat incompetent, an online poll finds.

The poll asked, “How would you rate your manager’s performance?” and just 50 percent of the 764 respondents said their managers are competent or very competent.

“It surprised us that as many as half of employees are less than enthused about their manager’s performance,” said George Herrmann, executive vice president of the Americas for Right Management, a talent and career management company that conducted the poll in July.

“We interpret the results as highlighting the lack of trust between many employees and their managers.”

One primary factor that may have sparked these trust issues: Employees are not being updated on changes within the company regarding layoffs, restructuring and adjustments to strategies.

“If people don’t know why things are happening … as well as what the plan is moving forward, they are less likely to feel confident about how things are being handled,” Herrmann said in a statement in which he also said employees’ negative perceptions of managers will cause those employees to work “half-hearted” on the job.

Companies can try to reverse these views, Herrmann recommended, by offering managers coaching and support to tackle their jobs during today’s rough business climate.

“Many managers are focused on ‘managing’ and getting things done, with little effort on leading and empowering others to navigate organizational change,” he said. “It’s a manager’s responsibility to make sure that employees know their role in the future success of the organization – no matter what the change in business strategy.

“Without knowing this, trust will be eroded, employees will become disengaged and business goals will not be realized.”

Poll results in percentages:

  • Very competent: 28 percent
  • Competent: 22 percent
  • Somewhat competent: 17 percent
  • Somewhat incompetent: 13 percent
  • Incompetent:  20 percent


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