Bad managers are driving talented staff away from education

Education Executive reports that British employees cite bullying, aggressive behaviours and micro-management as examples of their most recent experiences of poor management

Poor management is endemic in education, with 83% of employees having experienced what they consider poor management, or a poor manager, at least once during their career, according to new research by YouGov on behalf of leading HR and payroll solutions provider MHR.

The survey of 2,006 British employees also found that 71% of employees in the sector who have experienced poor management or a poor manager have considered leaving a job and, among these, a staggering 65% actually quit their job because of bad management.

When asked whether managers are equipped to deal with the human or emotional side of management, 57% of respondents in the education sector (compared to 58% nationally) said that they are not. This was illustrated in the answers employees provided when they were asked how they had experienced poor management or a poor manager.

Worryingly, a number of respondents said that they had experienced bullying, micro-management, aggressive and threatening behaviour from their managers during recent employment. Respondents also described bad managers as often inexperienced, out of their depth, lacking the necessary people skills, expressing favouritism, failing to offer recognition and feedback and failing to communicate effectively.

The most shocking comments were around the subject of mental health, with several respondents citing a complete disregard or lack of awareness of issues surrounding mental health in the workplace. As well as failing to support employees suffering from anxiety or depression, several respondents claimed that their manager was directly responsible for causing the decline in their mental health.

Julie Lock, service development director at MHR, says: “Managers promoted from within often struggle to make the transition from being everyone’s friend to being the boss, while managers appointed from outside an organisation often arrive wanting to prove their managerial abilities, but find it difficult to balance demonstrating authority with wanting people to like them. Being a good people manager requires a very specific skillset, the right training and effective internal processes that drive employee engagement.”

Read more Bad managers are driving talented staff away from education

Have you experienced bullying or general bad management? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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Categories: Employment, Leadership, Mental Health and Training.


  1. wasateacher

    Harris Federation are advertising for 124 jobs (various) in Schools Week, this week. Each week they seem to have far, far more jobs advertised than anyone else.

    When those in charge of schools have no or very little experience in the classroom there is bound to be a knock on effect. One of those is that the managers do not know how to support teachers, only on how to give instructions. The main problem with non teachers running schools is that they have no clue about the hours which are put in to prepare lessons – the demand for full lesson plans is a sign of that – an experienced teacher will prepare for a lesson and may make notes which would, possibly, make no sense to anyone else.

    The demands of “accountability” now is evidence of the failure of the system.

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