By Rachel King
October 22, 2018

No one likes a micro-manager, but radio silence isn’t a good look for managers, either.

According to a new survey from LinkedIn Learning, the online education arm of the professional social network, not setting clear expectations is the number one, single most frustrating trait they’ve experienced in a manager.

Lack of communication skills seems to be the common thread in the subsequent most frequently cited flaws. Being a micromanager came in second, followed by the polar opposite of being too aloof, rounded out by not fostering professional development.

And if these problems go untreated, they’ll fester within the workforce—to the point where managers might have a staffing problem on their hands. Researchers found that 36% of employees ended up quitting because their managers suffered from one of the aforementioned traits, while another 15% have at least considered quitting.

“Leaders often think they’re clear, but the data tells us a different story,” explains Lisa Earle McLeod, a strategy consultant who has written extensively about management and leadership. “Employees need to know why this matters (the purpose) and what good looks like (performance expectations). Show me a leader who says, ‘I shouldn’t have to tell them, it should be obvious,’ and we’ll show you a team that isn’t clear.”

That said, as another saying goes, communication is a two-way street, so employees need to step up and be vocal about their concerns. Employees need to take ownership of their careers and express expectations of their managers as well, which can help both employees and managers grow in their respective roles.

“Managers know it’s important to foster the development of their employees,” says Dr. Todd Dewett, an inspirational speaker and president of consulting firm TVA Inc. “They also acknowledge the need to engage this type of behavior.”

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