One-third of employees think their managers are incompetent

Half of all employees believe their managers are competent or very competent, according to a poll conducted by Right Management. However, an alarmingly high level of employees – 33 per cent – think their managers are either somewhat or completely incompetent with an additional 17 percent only marginally impressed with managerial competence.

Right Management is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, the global leader in employment services.
The firm conducted the poll with nearly 800 employees throughout North America.  Right Management asked the question: “How would you rate your manager’s performance?” The findings were:
  • 28 per cent Very competent
  • 22 per cent Competent
  • 17 per cent Somewhat competent
  • 13 per cent Somewhat incompetent
  • 20 per cent Incompetent
“It surprised us that as many as half of employees are less than enthused about their manager’s performance,” says George P. Herrmann, Executive Vice President Americas for Right Management. “The recent business climate has necessitated many fast and reactive changes – often quick decisions without explanations of rationale provided to employees. We interpret the results as highlighting the lack of trust between many employees and their managers.”
“With the volume of change surrounding most businesses – layoffs, restructurings, changes in business strategy – most managers have had their hands full managing the business and meeting aggressive goals with fewer resources,” notes Herrmann. If people don’t know why things are happening – the rationale or the business case – as well as what the plan is moving forward, they are less likely to feel confident about how things are being handled.”
Herrmann cautions that the danger is that if employees don’t view managers as competent, their commitment to get the job done will be half-hearted. “Believing that managers have the capability to make the organization successful is a top driver of employee engagement. And engagement is critical when companies need to draw on all their resources to meet business objectives and weather the economic environment.”
One common challenge is that many organizations don’t provide managers with coaching or support to develop the behaviours that are important for driving engagement and leading through all the changes faced regularly in today’s business climate,” advises Herrmann. “Many managers are focused on ‘managing’ and getting things done, with little effort on leading and empowering others to navigate organizational change. ‘Managerial competence’ needs to be redefined and then align the manager’s development, recruitment and succession initiatives accordingly.”
“It’s a manager’s responsibility to make sure that employees know their role in the future success of the organization – no matter what the change in business strategy,” says Herrmann. “Without knowing this, trust will be eroded, employees will become disengaged and business goals will not be realized.”
Right Management surveyed 764 individuals via an online poll in July 2010.
Right Management is the talent and career management expert within Manpower, the global leader in employment services. Right Management helps clients win in the changing world of work by designing and executing workforce solutions that align talent strategy with business strategy. Our expertise spans Talent Assessment, Leader Development, Organizational Effectiveness, Employee Engagement, and Workforce Transition and Outplacement. With offices in over 50 countries, Right Management partners with companies of all sizes. More than 80 per cent of Fortune 500 companies are currently working with us to help them grow talent, reduce costs and accelerate performance.