It’s said that people don’t leave their organizations. They leave their bosses. Managers who are abrasive—who psychologically harm their staff with everything from crude put-downs to totally inappropriate humor to retaliation and more—manage for motion, not motivation. So says Laura Crawshaw, author of Taming the Abrasive Manager: How to End Unnecessary Roughness in the Workplace. I’ve spoken with Laura and she’s shared with me some critical information about these people who often think they are doing a great job while being blind to the emotional blood they’re leaving in their wake.
Gallup’s research tells us that poor supervisory behavior is the main reason people quit or are less productive on the job, so I highly recommend that you get her book. (By the way, Laura calls herself The Boss Whisperer!)
Inspired by her work I have developed a coaching method for abrasives that includes several approaches. First, these folks need to be told that if they do not change, there will be significant consequences that can be anything from a demotion to dismissal. In other words, we need to get their attention and let them know they need to change or else. Next, they need to understand their impact which they are often clueless about. (“Hey, I’m making my numbers. What’s the problem?”) I’ve developed an approach that includes them in this process of discovery so they feel more a part of the process instead of them being at its mercy. This feedback becomes the roadmap for what’s next: The coaching process and the changes that will affect the manager—and their people—for the better.