Bad managers always seem to survive longer than bad employees, yet a bad boss can have a much bigger negative impact on a company.
So, why do bad managers seem to avoid getting fired even when they’re causing problems?
Here are 10 reasons why bad managers don’t get fired, I think it’ll make more sense after you’ve read through these:
10 Reasons Why Bad Managers Don’t Get Fired
1. They’re Often Able to Hide Their Failings
One of the main issues with a bad manager is that they’re, well, the manager, so what they say goes up to a certain point.
If they’re the ones reporting back to their bosses, they are often able to hide their own failings and stop employees escalating their issues.
Not all companies have an HR department, at least not one of the size that they can go to go over their manager’s heads with complaints.
Complaining to coworkers or even your manager is a waste of time, you need to find out what other channels you have available within your organization.
2. They Can Blame a Lot of Their Failings on Employees
When a manager’s boss does ask questions and probe why things aren’t going as well as expected – if that’s the case – they will always blame employees before themselves.
That’s the main MO of a bad manager, not being able to own up to their own shortcomings or failings.
It’s always someone else’s fault in their mind.
This is a common tactic used by managers to protect themselves, and it often works because their boss doesn’t want to get too involved in the day-to-day.
3. They’re Friendly With Their Boss
There is a saying in business that goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know.”
And that’s often very true, especially when it comes to getting ahead or avoiding being fired.
A bad manager who is friends with their boss is often able to stay in their position, even when they’re not performing.
This is because their boss will often give them the benefit of the doubt or be more lenient when it comes to performance review time.
Being friends with your boss definitely has its perks!
4. It’s Expensive to Replace Them
This is one of the most common reasons why bad managers don’t get fired – it’s expensive to replace them.
Unless their performance is obviously costing the company a lot of money, it may simply come down to financials.
It costs a lot of money to fire, hire and train a new manager, so a company will often just tolerate a bad manager rather than go through the process of replacing them.
5. They’re Not Bad Enough to Get Fired
There is a bad manager, then there is a really bad manager.
You might think your manager is incompetent, and for the most part they may be.
But that doesn’t always mean they’re going to – or are able to – be fired.
A lot of the time, it’s simply not worth it for a company to go through the hassle of firing and replacing a manager who is only marginally bad.
They may decide to try and train them up instead, or it may be a case where the manager just coasts for a while!
6. It’s Only You Who They Are Making Life Difficult For
You might think your manager is bad, and indeed they might be bad when it comes to managing you.
But you might be the only person who thinks this out of a large team.
Maybe they don’t like you, have taken an issue with something you’re doing, or the two of you just clash.
But if it’s only you that has a problem with your manager, they’re not going to get fired – in fact, it’s more likely you’ll get fired!
7. Company Performance Is Good
If overall company performance is really good despite a manager being bad at their job, their supervisors may not want to rock the boat, so to speak.
When things are going well with a business, it’s easy to let things slide or take the, “let’s not fix what isn’t broken” approach.
It’s a clear indication to you how little of an impact your manager has on overall performance, which you may see as a good or a bad thing.
8. Their Boss Is Concerned About Change
Change is hard, and it’s even harder for people and companies that are set in their ways.
If a manager’s boss is concerned about change, even though they’re well aware that a manager is underperforming, they might be hesitant to sack them.
They may think it’s too much of a risk to take and are concerned about the potential fallout.
As crazy as this sounds, bad managers often stay in their positions because their boss is worried about change!
9. There Is a General Culture of Ignorance Within The Company
Sadly, some companies simply have a culture of ignorance when it comes to bad managers.
Culture is incredibly influential within a company, it’s what holds the shared values, goals, and attitudes together – for good or bad.
This is more common in companies that have been around for a long time with little change and is set in its ways, or because it’s a family-run business.
In these types of companies, it can be very difficult to get rid of a bad manager, no matter how badly they’re performing.
I’ve seen a terrible manager run a business into the ground simply because no one within the organization would do something about them.
10. It’s Hard to Put Together an Air Tight Legal Case Against Them
Employment law tends to favor bad managers and employees in general when it comes to finding reasons to dismiss them.
This means that even if there is enough evidence to fire a bad manager, it can be very difficult – and costly – to do so.
Depending on the state and even the industry, a company might need to put together a decent amount of evidence before they can fire them.
If the manager is trying to cover their tracks and hide how bad they are this can take some time.
Your company may well be working on putting together a dismissal case in the background right now, we can only hope!
Why Bad Managers Are so Toxic For Companies
Bad managers are terrible for business, there’s no two ways about it.
They cost companies money in a variety of ways, and they can have a negative impact on employee morale, motivation, and retention.
If you’re stuck with a bad manager, it’s important to try and make the best of the situation.
But if you’re thinking about leaving your job because of a bad manager, you’re not alone.
It’s up to you and your other coworkers to say something to your HR team or your manager’s boss, no matter how difficult that is going to be.
Otherwise, nothing is going to change.
Should You Leave if You Have a Bad Boss Making Your Job Difficult?
If you’re considering leaving your job because of a bad manager, I completely understand.
It’s not an easy decision to make, but it’s one that you need to think long and hard about.
If you love your job and the company you work for, but can’t tolerate your manager, you should at least try and do something about it first.
But if you can’t or you’ve tried and nothing is changing, then you should look for another job.
At the end of the day, you deserve to be happy at work, if that’s not going to be possible while your manager is there and it doesn’t look like they’re going to get fired you’ll have to go.
A tough decision, but trust me when I say that you’re doing the right thing.
You’ll find a better job where you will be happier, and that means you’ll build out your skillset, make new friends, and be a better version of yourself!
Image credits – Photo by Cherrydeck on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.