Study: 2 of 5 bosses don't keep word

Nearly two of five bosses don't keep their word and more than a fourth bad mouth those they supervise to co-workers, a Florida State University study shows. The results of the study are scheduled for publication in the Fall 2007 issue of The Leadership Quarterly

The findings include:

•39 percent of workers said their supervisor failed to keep promises.

•37 percent said their supervisor failed to give credit when due.

•31 percent said their supervisor gave them the "silent treatment" in the past year.

•27 percent said their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.

•24 percent said their supervisor invaded their privacy.

•23 percent said their supervisor blamed others to cover up mistakes or to minimize embarrassment.

This study says two things to me:

1. There are plenty of disingenuous bosses out there who just don’t get it. And, they wonder why their people don't make things happen? As this study reveals, many boss have a lot to learn about managing people.

2. A study like this one shouldn't let workers off the hook. I fear that some people use such a study to point the finger of responsibility back at the boss. If a worker has evidence that he is not the only person with a bad boss, he can convince others there is a real, broader problem; and that he is victim of poor management. Sort of a covert way of saying, "See, it's not my fault. I have a terrible boss…". Stewing over bad practices of bosses, keeps all the focus on leadership. Too often, I hear people proclaim "change begins at the top"; suggesting that workers don't have to do anything until the leadership makes the first move—consequently, little gets done! Making anything happen, within an organization, is everyone’s responsibility.

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