Three Glaring Signs That Your Management Is Abusive

By | Small Business

Recruiting agencies are charging up to 30% first year salary placement fees these days. At the top of that fee range, a new hire could cost a company $30,000 just to hire someone making an annual salary of $100,000. Good talent is hard to find, even harder to keep, and very expensive to acquire. But, think about how expensive it is to lose good talent once they’ve been hired, or to have good talent avoid applying for jobs with your company because of a reputation for bad management.  

Management has always been a subject of fierce debate, especially in a country like America, where people do not like to be told what to do. But, there is a fine line between employees following orders and feeling abused.

Owners of start-ups are in a vulnerable position when the company gets big enough to begin hiring professional managers. They think managers are there to do whatever it takes to meet goals, increase productivity and ultimately increase profitability. So, if it takes a little arm twisting, intimidation, and threatening, they might be inclined to overlook it, at least while revenues are growing. What small business owners may not realize is that managers can use a few scare tactics out of the ole trick box to increase revenues short term, but, long term, all of those Gestapo methods will probably backfire.

To recognize some of the signs of an abusive management, small business owners need to keep an eye out on these three glaring signs:

1) Silence. Step in on your management’s next meeting with staff, and see what kind of Q&A there is afterwards. Even better, listen out for any criticism. The lack of openness and feedback among staff may be an indicator that they are afraid to share their thoughts, for fear of being fired or punished.

2) Monitor Company Ratings. Check websites like for employee feedback on work culture. There are always a few complaints, so don’t read into a single negative post, but look for trends, and common complaints across many posts.

3) Creativity Plunge. One of the first things to go when management is abusive is the creativity among staff, the will to try new things, and innovate. When it feels like the company is mired in convention, and not able to keep up with current trends, it may be a sign that it’s time to replace management.

There are many other red flags that arise at the outset of poor management, so it’s important for small business owners to stay vigilant in monitoring how employees feel about working at their companies. The feeling people have about where they work creates the company culture. The difference between good and bad management will determine the success or failure of a company’s culture, which has a huge impact on long term profitability.  

Contact Jonathan Poston at 

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