In A Recession, Bad Managers Make Things Even Worse

3 Aug


I recently analyzed employee engagement surveys for two different employers. In both cases I found a group of employees who had significantly lower results than the rest of the company. As I dug deeper into the results, including the anecdotal comments, the same problem in both employers become clear:

Bad, rogue management.

What sickened me most was what these rogue managers were doing to “motivate” employees in the midst of this economic crisis. In both cases they were telling employees:

 “you better keep your nose to the grindstone, because if you don’t I can hire a dozen others just like you who don’t have a job. And don’t making any demands, because I’m in charge here.”

Could someone please tell me why ANYONE would think this strategy is going to make sense for these businesses now or, importantly, in the future?


Our research tells us there are other employers who are not subscribing to this kind of fear mongering and are, in fact, managing in a more engaging manner and, in doing so, achieving outstanding results.

The “you-bet-your-job” attitude on the part of some so-called leaders isn’t the cure to our economic woes.

For more information on what some outstanding employers are doing to engage employee in difficult economic times please read Beating the Bear Market with Engaged Employees

3 Responses to “In A Recession, Bad Managers Make Things Even Worse”

  1. George Guajardo August 3, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    I ran across the same thing a few times when I analyzed engagement data for clients. It is disheartening to say the least. Sadly, I don’t think that this is a knowledge issue. I am pretty sure these managers have the training to know better. However, it is easier for some to use their authority in this manner. When business units fail, analysts look for reasons and they are usually pinned on the poor economy, or other macroeconomic forces. Sometimes, it really is all about the management.

    • markhirschfeld August 3, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

      I appreciate the observation George. Some of these so-called supervisors know exactly what they’re doing when they threaten and intimidate employees and for whatever reason are under the mistaken assumption that their behavior will produce results. What they don’t realize is how toxic their behavior is to the success of the organization. I hope continued dialogue will expose these people for what they are.

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