Posted by: johnocunningham | July 18, 2011

Bad Bosses and Communication

On the heels of the July 8 debut of the movie comedy “Bad Bosses” comes the following observation from Business Week magazine.

Citing a study by the non-profit “Conference Board” for business insight, the magazine noted that only 50 percent of Americans are now “satisfied” with their bosses, down from 60 percent just a couple of decades ago.

What is behind this drop? It seems that communication issues are among the leading causes with 39 percent of workers reporting that bosses made promises they could not keep, 31 percent stating that supervisors give them the “silent treatment” instead of confronting issues, and 27 percent observing that bosses speak ill of staffers behind their backs.

A good fix for these complaints?

1. Think before you speak. A hasty promise that sounds nice in the moment can breed disloyalty later.

2. Speak before you stew. If you are a boss and have something on your mind, think about how to raise it tactfully and do so. Think about the right setting and the right words; and then think about the right way to listen to any response. If you do, you will be ready to solve your workplace people problem.

3. Don’t speak at all rather than speaking ill of others. This won’t earn you points with anyone, and despite what some bosses seem to think, a co-worker or staffer is not an appropriate topic for mean jokes. 

These sound like really basic tenets of workplace behavior, but the statistics show that some bosses have not learned them (or at least have somehow created that perception among their staff).

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