The cost of bad leadership - Business Works
BW brief

The cost of bad leadership

by Hephzi Pemberton, Founder, Equality Group Toxic culture within organisations has a detrimental effect on productivity and staff retention. Anyone could be a manager, but that doesn't mean that anyone should be, says Hephzi Pemberton, Founder of the Equality Group.

50% of Brits state that their current or previous boss has caused them significant anxiety and 49% have quit a job because they felt unsupported by their management team.

Over the course of our lifetime, the average person will spend around 3507 days at work, including a staggering 204 days of overtime. Given the significant amount of time we spend within the workplace and, for many, around bad bosses, it is of vital importance to understand what makes employees decide to stay in their current jobs and what makes people to quit.

"I had never really considered how important it was to have a good working relationship with your boss when I was applying for jobs," said Jacob Willis. "I looked for the company name, salary and position and didn't really give much thought other than that when I was applying. My first job after university was a disaster from start to finish. My manager took an instant dislike to me, he was always nit-picking at my work and making me feel like I couldn't do anything correctly. It made me question my own abilities and I had no confidence in myself and my professional expertise. As this was my first proper job I thought that the whole corporate world functioned like this and that it was just the way that bosses manage. I only stayed in this role for 6 months, yet when I applied for the role, it was the job and a company that I wanted to work my way up."

According to author Alison Green, what constitutes a bad manager is the boss who isn't clear about what they want, who doesn't address workplace issues, who micromanages and who flaunts their power over their employees.

Being a good manager is a skill that requires training - anyone could be a manager, but that doesn't mean that anyone has the natural ability or demeanour to lead a team from strength to strength. Our research highlights the impact that bad bosses can have on employee mental health, enjoyment and retention whilst also noting that, when businesses get the management layer right, 60% of employees will stay loyal to the company.

Bad bosses can be fundamentally damaging to a business as the quality of a manager has a direct impact on the company's bottom line, in addition to its ability to recruit and develop good employees and aid them in producing the best results. We live in a hugely interconnected society where potential candidates can go online and assess the culture of a company before applying for a role and because of this, businesses can no longer sweep a toxic culture or bad management under the rug. It is undeniable that a bad manager has the power to drive away good talent and harm a business with 60% stating that a bad boss is a fundamental reason as to why businesses, particularly SMEs fail.

Our research shows:

  • 67% of respondents say having a diverse, positive and encouraging management team is vital for career progression and professional enjoyment
  • 63% state a bad boss is the number one reason as to why most people quit their jobs
  • 60% state over and above enjoying what they do, a good management team is what will make them stay in their current job
  • 60% of professionals say bad bosses are a main reason why businesses fail
  • Half of workers state that their current or previous bosses have caused them significant anxiety and / or stress
  • 49% of UK workers have wanted to / have quit a job because I felt unsupported by my management team
  • 49% would accept a job if they laid out a career plan and had a mentoring system in place
  • 37% feel they were unjustly forced out of a previous job by my manager even though they were a loyal employee
  • 33% say that they dislike their job because of bad management / bad managers
  • 25% state that their Sunday night anxiety is solely down to a bad boss
  • 34% of BAME Brits feel that they are not positively encouraged to stay within the company they work for due to a non-inclusive culture that starts with the management team

To find out more, please visit:

Tweet article
BW on TwitterBW RSS feed