Abrasive leaders often considered ‘irreplaceable’

But dealing with resulting turnover costly: Survey

When it comes to abrasive leaders, lower employee retention is one of the main impacts, according to 68 per cent of 257 respondents to a Canadian HR Reporter survey.

Increased stress (86 per cent) and decreased team performance (73 per cent) round out the top three.

But dealing with abrasive leadership is no easy task as many leaders possess unique business knowledge and are considered irreplaceable, or are deemed a low priority compared to more pressing business issues, according to 68 per cent of respondents in both cases.

So, what solutions are effective in eliminating abrasive conduct? Not surprisingly, terminating an employee (57 per cent) came out on top, found the Canadian HR Reporter survey.

Also effective in dealing with a bad apple are performance feedback from the abrasive leader’s manager (43 per cent), progressive discipline (40 per cent), executive coaching (38 per cent) and 360-degree feedback (36 per cent).

As for the direct and indirect costs of a abrasive behaviour, lower employee retention, severance costs, retraining costs and outplacement costs came out on top, with 30 per cent of survey respondents saying these would cost $75,000 or more.

Absenteeism, stress leaves and health-care costs, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, were cited by 23 per cent, followed by lost management and HR time (22 per cent). However, many respondents said they were not sure of the costs when it came to issues such as lower productivity, decreased performance, lost clients or business, or harassment or health and safety complaints.

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