New Survey Says 86 Percent of Americans See Parallels Between Poorly Performing Bosses Staying Under Radar and Bailed Out, Failed Firms

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – April 14, 2009 – Recent headlines of corporate misdeeds, poor performance and bailouts may be just the tip of the iceberg of a widespread lack of confidence in bosses, suggests a new national study. Eighty-six percent of U.S. adults feel that highly visible corporate calamities are similar to the much less conspicuous – but more far-reaching, ill-advised daily actions of managers that go unnoticed until it is too late.

“Bosses are expected to be accountable in any economy, but against the backdrop of a downturn and lean workforce, there seems to be less tolerance for poor decision making,” said Lynn Taylor, an expert on workplace issues and CEO of Lynn Taylor Consulting. Taylor’s management consulting firm commissioned the national telephone survey of 1,002 adults, conducted by a global independent research firm.

“An ounce of accountability seems to be worth a pound of cure today, not only for high profile corporations, but also for bosses everywhere,” noted Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT); How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009). The survey question and results follow:

How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The actions of companies making headlines recently for misdeeds, poor performance or bailouts remind me of bosses whose poor decisions go unnoticed until it’s too late – and by then too many people are affected. The response:

Don’t Know

The widest discrepancies in sentiment were seen according to income and gender. For example, 92 percent of workers earning an annual income of $35,000 – $50,000 agreed with the survey question, in contrast to 79 percent of respondents earning $100,000 and higher. By gender, 91 percent of women agreed with the survey statement, versus 80 percent of men.

Taylor outlined some of the ramifications possible when bosses’ misjudgments remain unexposed:

  • They may be rewarded or promoted unwittingly by senior management, taking their poor management style up the hierarchy and affecting increasing numbers of people.
  • Morale may suffer and top talent may leave the company.
  • The firm’s reputation may be adversely affected.
  • Customer retention and revenues may decrease, placing the company’s viability at risk.

As an advisor to companies on fostering a more motivated workforce, Taylor suggests that bosses adopt several strategies to strengthen confidence and trust among their staff:

  • Keep employees in the decision making loop and remember that those on the front lines with customers can offer invaluable market insight.
  • Be forthright about the status of the company during both good and bad times to mitigate rumor and conjecture.
  • Tap into the expertise of human resource professionals to help boost morale, mentor personnel and support their career development needs.
  • Remain dedicated to being a role model, embracing transparency and collaboration – starting at the most senior levels of the organization.

Earlier Survey Underscores Mistrust, Job Jitters

A related study released in March 2009 by Lynn Taylor Consulting showed that employees spend almost three hours a day (2.8) worrying about their job fate – and that 76 percent of them become fearful when suddenly encountering a boss’s closed door. When asked how often they think this barrier signals lay-offs, respondents said:

Never/Don’t Know

“Both surveys point to the greater value being placed on bosses who can engender trust and be more accountable leaders,” said Taylor.

About Lynn Taylor
Lynn Taylor is a nationally recognized expert on employment issues and the CEO of Lynn Taylor Consulting, a management consulting firm that advises employers and employees on how to increase productivity through a more collaborative workplace. She conducts lively, research-based seminars on motivational topics such as how to “humanize your workplace™.” Taylor is the author of the forthcoming book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™ (TOT); How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job (John Wiley & Sons, July 2009). For more information, and, or call: 1-800-454-0083.