Most people have had a terrible manager at some point in their careers. People feel helpless — caught between wanting to leave and needing to stay. In either scenario, employees are hamstrung and performance suffers.
Oftentimes, managers serve as the gatekeepers for their employees’ professional opportunities. Good managers advocate for their team, mentor them and coach people toward better performance. Bad ones downplay their employees’ accomplishments, shield them from promotion opportunities and ignore development.
Employees move up the corporate ladder with the help of a good manager. A bad one can push them down it (and out the door). But not to worry, today’s workplace has changed and a bad manager doesn’t spell the end for some employees. How?
Managers’ Opinions Aren’t the Only Ones that Count
Good news for employees: organizations have embraced a more multidirectional approach to feedback. Annual reviews typically only incorporate top-down feedback and even good managers struggle to make those conversations less awkward and more productive. Companies now more frequently use a peer-driven approach. Employees can request and give feedback to one another in real-time so performance adjustments can be made more swiftly. Likewise, colleagues are often the best equipped to give constructive advice to one another. A poor manager’s impact on an employee’s performance, productivity and engagement can be mitigated when ongoing, multidirectional feedback is the norm.
Managers Can Be Equipped with More Ongoing Leadership Training
Let’s be honest – the annual review process sets up managers for failure. Employees dread them. The process is time-consuming. Managers are often forced to give numerical rankings that do little to motivate better performance. Today’s engagement and performance technologies provide a real-time alternative, thereby eliminating the need for an annual review. But increasing the frequency of conversations doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be productive. To make them meaningful, engagement technologies provide conversation guides managers use to make the dialogue beneficial. Managers can also solicit feedback on their own performance so it’s not a one-way evaluation that puts employees on the defensive. Team members feel less threatened, conversations are more collaborative and as a result, employees’ and managers’ performance improves.
Have you ever worked for a bad manager? Did your organization’s performance management approach actually make it better, or worse?