Management Causes Poor Morale


Low morale linked to management, not money

Is this from the “well duh” category? The article is short and basically a press release, so I'll put the full text below:

A Chicago outplacement consulting firm says the main cause of low job morale is bad management, not low pay.

Nearly three out of four respondents to a survey among U.S. human resource executives put the blame for low employee morale on poor leadership, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Monday.

Only 11 percent put the blame on issues over salary and benefits. Slightly more, 16 percent, cited heavy workloads as the primary cause of low morale.

‘Leadership, or the lack thereof, creates the work environment. If there is confusion about what leadership expects, frustration sets in and morale sinks,' CGC said in a statement.

I bet if you polled employees, not just HR types, you'd get the same response. If you're a manager who blames HR for poor morale, you really don't understand your role as a manager. I guess it's ok for HR to blame management? I guess HR should, if anything, push managers to be better leaders. If HR or management expects to make people happy through more pay or better incentives, they're also barking up the wrong tree.

I've always thought, seen, and believed that NOBODY is disgruntled on their first day of work. Management does that to people. Sometimes it doesn't take long. I've seen that personally in previous jobs. I'm lucky that I really enjoy my current job. Most people aren't that lucky.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. When you’re a manager required to implement a policy, even when you’ve questioned it, you have to represent the company to employees without being disloyal. Someone once described it as being handed a plate of s**t, and you have to say “mm..m” and hand it to the employees. The more experience I had as a manager, the more I believed that was right.

  2. Do you really, Karen? Isn’t it your job as a leader to question your management so you’re not just passing the shit downhill? That sounds like a cop-out and not real leadership. You can’t go bad-mouthing your company or upper management to your employees, but you do have to question things appropriately and not just be a corporate pawn, in my opinion.

  3. Hey “Anonymous”

    Karen said “even when you’ve questioned it.” (a bad policy)

    I’m reading between the lines here, but I take that to mean that she discussed, debated, etc. with her boss to try and not go forward with a policy that would actually hurt the company.

    At some point all *.* subordinates must either follow orders or leave once all other options have been exhausted.

    Karen? Anything to say on this?


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