Web Exclusive - September/October 2020

SHRM Survey: Bad Managers to Blame for Stress


A recent SHRM survey affirms that employees leave managers not companies, as 84% of U.S. workers say poorly trained manager create stress and unnecessary work. They also emphasized skills managers should develop, including better managing team performance.

The survey of U.S. workers examined their perspective on how ill—or well-equipped—their supervisor(s) were to manage people, the most important skills managers should develop, and how a better manager could improve their own performance as an individual contributor.

Key findings include:

  • 84% of American workers say poorly trained people managers create a lot of unnecessary work and stress.
  • 57% of American workers say managers in their workplace could benefit from training on how to be a better people manager.
  • 50% feel their own performance would improve if their direct supervisor received additional training in people management.

The top five skills people managers could improve, according to American workers were:

  • Communicating effectively (41%)
  • Developing and training the team (38%)
  • Managing time and delegating (37%)
  • Cultivating a positive and inclusive team culture (35%)
  • Managing team performance (35%)

"There is no relationship in the workplace more powerful than the one between people managers and employees," said SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. "As working Americans challenge organizations to manage and lead differently, those that don't will find themselves left behind."

The survey reinforced existing SHRM research—notably, its report from Q3 of 2019, The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture, which found one in four American workers dread going to work, and estimated U.S. companies had lost $223 billion due to culture-caused turnover.