It’s one of the most awkward situations that you’ll find yourself in as an HR professional. What’s the best way to handle managers who are disliked by their team?
Brutal honesty can be difficult to administer, but in this case it is probably necessary, as a survey conducted by Harris Interactive last year found that 66% of employees said their direct manager has an impact on their career. Of these, one in five said that this impact is negative.
Ronald Riggio, Professor of Psychology at Claremont McKenna College, and author of books on leadership including Leader Interpersonal and Influence Skills: The Soft Skills of Leadership and Exploring Distance in Leader-Follower Relationships spoke to HRD about approaching disliked leaders.
“Leaders don't necessarily have to be liked, but they should be respected,” said Riggio. “A key measure that is used in much research is "satisfaction with the leader." Naturally, that correlates with liking for the leader, but they aren't necessarily the same thing. One can be satisfied with the leader in that role, but not necessarily want that person for a friend.”
Riggio also told HRD that managers’ quest to be liked could be their own undoing. “One problem that leaders can encounter is trying too hard to be liked,” he said, pointing out that this could lead to them failing to fulfil their leadership duties, which often includes hard decisions, such as reprimanding someone, or letting them go.
Key things to remember:
- Be Sensitive
- Be Realistic
- Find the root of the problem
- Keep it confidential