Why Don’t Bad Managers Ever Get Fired?

One of my favorite blogs is Askamanager.com.  I am a fan of Alison Green. She always offers interesting and provocative material.  One of her recent posts, “Guess Your Next Co-Worker to be Fired” really got me thinking. We know that employees leave organizations because of a bad boss.  But why is it that bad bosses don’t get fired very often?  Here are a couple of thoughts…

First, a bad boss is a problem. And my experience has been that organizations tend to postpone dealing with problem managers because, it takes time and is an unpleasant exercise. Too often the problem manager is passed on to another area of the company. Unlike fine wine and cheese, problems like a bad manager don’t improve with age.

Second, and more importantly, managers are held accountable for achieving results which is a good thing. But too often, they are not held accountable for how they achieve the results, i.e., their behavior, which is a bad thing.  I have seen a few organizations include specific objectives that relate to managerial behaviors, but that practice is all too infrequent.

So what are your thoughts on why bad managers tend not to get fired?  Your comments are welcome.


  1. Kenneth Berry says:

    First no matter how much lip service companies give to striving to be their best “good enough for government work” is the standard they all degrade to until the next crisis and then everyone runs around like a chicken with its head cut off because of some primal instinct that equates “motion with progress”. So in the absence of a crisis the boss no matter how bad is safe cause guess who hired the boss? His boss and His boss being even greater insulated from the consequences of his actions, after all everyone knows generals die in bed, hired the boss because the boss is basically just like his boss. Now why would his boss put his job at risk by drawing attention to the fact that he is a bad boss by firing the bad boss who is basically identical to him.

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