U.S managers too quick to blame others

Jan 03 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Getting back into work mode after Christmas is hard enough at the best of times, but many of us are also returning to bosses who are negative, fail to keep their word and never take the blame for mistakes.

A significant minority of U.S bosses cold shoulder their workers, take credit for the work of others, fail to keep their promises and spend their days being negative and critical, latest research has suggested.

The study of 700 people by Florida State University's College of Business found that nearly a third of workers in the past 12 months had experienced the "silent treatment" from their manager or supervisor.

This rose to 37 per cent who said their manager had failed to give credit when it was due, with a similar percentage complaining their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.

Nearly four of 10 said their supervisor had failed to keep his or her promises and a nearly a quarter said he or she had invaded their privacy.

A similar number said their supervisor blamed others to cover up mistakes or to minimise embarrassment.

Lead researcher Wayne Hochwarter, associate professor of management at the college, said employees who felt stuck in an "abusive relationship" experienced more exhaustion, job tension, nervousness, depressed mood and mistrust.

They also were less likely to take on additional tasks, such as working longer or on weekends and were generally less satisfied with their job.

A poor working relationship with the boss also made an employee much more likely to leave, even more so than dissatisfaction with pay.

"It is common for the employee to blame himself or herself for the abuse, causing embarrassment," said Hochwarter.

"Hiding can be detrimental to your career, especially when it keeps others in the company from noticing your talent and contributions.

"In most cases, others know who the bullies are at work Ė they likely have a history of mistreating others," he added.

More positively, he concluded: "It is important to stay positive, even when you get irritated or discouraged, because few subordinate-supervisor relationships last forever. You want the next boss to know what you can do for the company."