Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Well well well...

The results are trickling in from the second employee wellbeing survey we've conducted with a client, and they are looking good.

Actually, they're better than good. We are seeing an astonishing decrease in the number of musculoskeletal issues reported, including a huge drop in neck, lower back and shoulder pain in office-based staff thanks to small, inexpensive changes made to workstations and better awareness of moving around regularly including taking proper breaks from their desks.

Stress at work is down too. Last year it wasn't unusual to see stress levels of 8/10 reported by people who felt they were running to stand still, and didn't know why their role mattered. So far, not one person has reported a stress level above 6. Thanks to better HR practice, updated systems, consistency of application and a clear plan for the development of each employee, people understand now why their job counts, and why they are valued. Most of all, they know what improvements they can make and who to go to if they find themselves in need of support.

All of these changes have been implemented over time, with input and suggestions from all levels of the business. The collaboration we've encouraged and seen from those affected by change has been remarkable; and one of the best parts is that unknown talents have been discovered on this journey which have helped succession planning- essential for the future of the Company.

What next? Well, we keep improving. We up our game, reviewing the information we ask for and receive. We look at what else this business can offer to protect the wellbeing of its people and of its business. We consider the business' culture, its aims and overriding vision as well as budgets, timeframes and responsibilities.

The upshot? The Company knows it's discharging its duty under the law by doing its best for its people, protecting them from work-related ill-health and injury. Absenteeism continues to fall, lost hours are further reduced, and the energy levels increase, making the working environment a far better place to do business.

The people who work in this business are telling us they feel cared about. They know now that they can raise health matters and be recognised for contributing to the wellbeing 'plan'. They feel a part of things. They know that their health matters, and that their own ideas and initiatives will be welcomed.

And you know something else? From an outside perspective, its a nicer place to work than sit used to be. Clients visiting these offices couldn't help but notice the energy and positivity here.

They may do what a dozen other companies do, but they do it in a much more dynamic way. It's what marks them out from competitors and makes them a great team to do business with.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Health and Wellbeing: Measles- the facts

On behalf of our health and wellbeing arm, Steve has looked at media reports of the current measles outbreak and rounded up some advice for parents, employees and businesses to protect themselves and others against infection.
 You will have seen in the press of late that there has been a measles outbreak in Wales, with some cases in the North West of England. Here is some information that can help you decide whether you need to seek further advice on immunisation from your GP, and whether measles poses a risk to you, your children, relatives or employees.

Why is it so important to be vaccinated against measles? 

Contrary to what you may think, measles is a very infectious, nasty illness which, in rare cases, can be fatal. About one in five children with measles experiences complications such as ear infections, diarrhoea and vomiting, pneumonia, and even eye problems. One in 10 children with measles ends up hospitalised. There is no treatment for measles- vaccination is the only way of preventing it.

Can adults catch measles?

Yes, and as with many 'childhood' illnesses caught by grownups, adults are likely to be more ill than children, and for longer. Someone with measles generally has to spend five days in bed and be off work for 10 days. Adults are also more prone to measles complications than children.
We don't live in or near Wales, so why should I be worried?

Outbreaks of measles can happen anywhere at any time, so wherever you live in the UK it’s important that your children are up-to-date with their MMR and other childhood vaccinations. If your child has already had two doses of MMR vaccine, you don't need to worry. However, if they've only had one dose, or have not been vaccinated at all, they really should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
What if I'm going to travel to or near to an area with an outbreak?

If you have plans to travel anywhere close to or within the outbreak areas, make immediate arrangements with your GP for your children to receive the MMR vaccination if they haven’t had both doses before. Babies aged six to 12 months can also be vaccinated and children aged up to three can have their second MMR jab a month after the first.

Can my children still have the MMR vaccination if they weren’t vaccinated as babies?

Safety of the MMR jab
The late 1990s report by Andrew Wakefield that suggested a link between MMR and autism and bowel disease has since been completely discredited.

There is no evidence that MMR can make a child chronically ill. It is a very safe and effective vaccination. It's never too late for your children (or yourself) to ‘catch up’ with MMR vaccination if they missed it earlier. Children up to the age of 18 and adults without immunity should have a catch-up MMR vaccination.

I can't remember if I had my child vaccinated. How do I find out?

MMR vaccination is usually given as a first dose around the age of 13 months and then again as a ‘booster’ jab before school at age three to five. If your child has already had the vaccine it should be recorded in their medical notes and in their personal health record (the `Red Book`). Ask your GP if you’re not sure.
What do I do if my GP doesn't know if my family has been vaccinated?

If you or your GP are unsure whether your children have been vaccinated against measles before, then go ahead and arrange to have your kids vaccinated again. It absolutely will not hurt them to have the MMR vaccination a second or third time.
Will I have to pay for the MMR vaccination?

No, MMR vaccination is available to adults and children free on the marvellous NHS!

Can you still get measles after the MMR vaccination?

It’s extremely unlikely, but you need both doses of the MMR vaccine to be completely protected. The first dose of the MMR jab gives 90% protection and the second dose tops this up to 99% protection. 

How do I arrange vaccination?

Just call your GP' surgery and make an appointment for an MMR jab. It involves two doses which can be given just a month apart to protect as quickly as possible. If you aren’t registered with a GP, find the nearest doctor’s surgery who will give your family the jabs.

Can adults have the MMR jab?

MMR vaccination isn't just for kids. Adults who are unsure whether they’ve had measles or been vaccinated can have the MMR vaccine on the NHS from their GP. Consider that most adults born before 1970 are likely to be immune because they have probably been exposed to measles already.

The decision of whether to vaccinate an adult takes into account past vaccination history, the likelihood of an individual remaining susceptible and the future risk of exposure and disease:

● Individuals who were born between 1980 and 1990 may not be protected against mumps but are likely to be vaccinated against measles and rubella. They may never have received a mumps-containing vaccine or had only one dose of MMR, and had limited opportunity for exposure to natural mumps. They should be recalled and given MMR vaccine. If this is their first dose, a further dose of MMR should be given from one month later.

● Individuals born between 1970 and 1979 may have been vaccinated against measles and many will have been exposed to mumps and rubella during childhood. However, this age group should be offered MMR wherever feasible, particularly if they are considered to be at high risk of exposure. Where such adults are being vaccinated because they have been demonstrated to be susceptible to at least one of the vaccine components, then either two doses should be given, or there should be evidence of seroconversion to the relevant antigen.

● Individuals born before 1970 are likely to have had all three natural infections and are less likely to be susceptible. MMR vaccine should be offered to such individuals on request or if they are considered to be at high risk of exposure. 

Individuals with unknown or incomplete vaccination histories

People coming to the UK from developing countries will probably have had a measles-containing vaccine in their country of origin, but may not have received mumps or rubella vaccines. Unless there is a reliable history of appropriate immunisation, individuals should be assumed to be unimmunised and seek help from their GP.

Contraindications to MMR are few, but it should not be given to
• Those who are immunosuppresed
• Those with a confirmed previous reaction to either mumps, measles or rubella containing vaccines, or to neomycin or gelatin.
• Pregnant women.


NHS Choices

If you are worried about measles or any other symptom, please contact your GP surgery for further information.

Fall in love today

"Sometimes, I hate this job."

- Me, many times over the years

I read this a few days ago, which makes a case for employees who hate their job to take on more work, bigger challenges and tougher tasks.

I agree with this thinking- when I've felt demotivated or frustrated with work in the past, taking on a project or a challenge has helped me get back on track, refocus my mind and recapture that sense of belonging. It's no 'Aha' moment to realise that we feel more valuable and talented when we test ourselves, and really get our minds and abilities working to capacity.

A big project can lead you to work with others you normally wouldn't get an opportunity to collaborate with, to test your knowledge and share ideas. 

Most of all, it helps you refresh your sense of purpose. Every job has a purpose, but we may lose sight of it. We can forget that we matter, that what we do counts, and that people need us to perform well so they can do their job.

I won't pretend that every employee has a big chance or an immediately obvious opportunity to make the change, but there are always small ones, and they're there if you look. Start today, rediscover that purpose, and fall in love with your work again.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Employee shareholders: coming to a reality near you

We've looked at the issue of employee shareholders before, and regular readers of this blog and our Twitter feed will know we have concerns about the implications for businesses and people. There's a plethora of information and opinion out there, but let's look at the current state of play. 

Employee shareholders is an initiative favoured by Chancellor George Osborne to create a third employment status which would see individuals give up certain employment rights in return for shares in the business, valued at anything from £2,000 to £50,000. 

In exchange they’ll lose their right to claim not just unfair dismissal but also redundancy pay, the right to request flexible working or time off for training, and they’ll be required to provide 16 weeks’ notice of their date of return from maternity leave instead of the usual eight.

The House of Lords has rejected the Clause twice, calling it variously "ill-thought out", "not conducive to growth" and "not just a dog's breakfast, but a messy dog's breakfast". Yesterday the Government made a further concession in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill and, last night, the Lords voted to accept it.

This means that Employee Shareholders will now pass into law, becoming a recognised employment option following Royal Assent, expected in the next 24 hours.

The latest concession that swung the vote in favour is this: if someone agrees they shall become an employee shareholder they must, prior to entering into the contract, seek advice from a relevant independent advisor (for example an employment law specialist, Citizen's Advice Bureau or trade union).

The employer will be liable for all reasonable costs involved in seeking this advice, even if the employee declines to accept the position. At this point, no trade union has explicitly stated that they will attach costs to providing such advice to members, but we await developments on this as it would obviously prove a useful revenue stream for unions.

If the employee does not receive independent advice before agreeing to become an employee shareholder, then the agreement is declared invalid, and they are considered to be an ordinary employee.

This latest concession follows earlier points agreed, including the assurance that the first £2,000 of shares will not attract tax, the provision of a seven day 'cooling off' period, during which any acceptance of employee shareholder status will not be legally binding and the requirement for employers to provide a written statement with comprehensive details about the shares issued, and the rights attached to them.

There is protection too for existing employees who refuse to switch to an employee shareholder contract and will receive protection from detriment, and jobseekers who will keep their social security benefits if they turn down a position with employee shareholder status.

We urge all employers to consider the position and seek advice before adopting these new, untried agreements when they come into play- don't be the guinea pig if you can help it!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


It's been almost two weeks since we last blogged, for which we offer our apologies. It's been a busy fortnight and client needs far outweigh the pressure to deliver blog posts for the sake of them.

Today, however, I have something to share.

I woke on Monday with an appalling pain in my lower back. It came from nowhere. i went to bed on Sunday and felt fine, but woke Monday feeling like I'd been kicked by a mule. It has restricted my mobility, but I've cracked on with work and tried to keep moving, hoping to push through it and release whatever's trapped in there.

Today I travelled into London for a meeting first thing. As I walked along the platform at Victoria (admittedly far slower than usual) I was amazed at the way people pushed past, impatient to be places and with no awareness that I was doing my best, and hurting as a result. It gave me a little insight into how it must feel to be old or infirm, restricted in mobility and unable to move around at the breakneck speeds of today's world. I was trying my damnedest but couldn't keep up. I felt a little afraid and ashamed that I was causing such inconvenience, and just wanted to get out of the way.

It highlighted for me the importance of empathy in our communications and behaviour towards others; the need to understand that people don't want to be behind, slow or difficult, but that often they can't tackle a particular obstacle without your help, support and understanding.

I don't know what would have helped me earlier short of a lovely person offering me a piggyback, but it made me realise that we move far too fast sometimes, and we frighten others with our need for speed.

Update: an interesting lunch meeting and lively chat with the brilliant Gail Steel of Calla Personnel led me to think further on this in a business context.

When do we pause and consider what we might do to empathise with others at work? When do we seek to actively understand people who are struggling, rather than assume they need 'fixing' and that we can do it via systems, performance management processes and so on? I'll tell you- damned rarely. Perhaps if we tried to empathise before we impose our own ideas about what's needed we might identify a long term solution rather than a quick fix that won't stick.

I don't know. But I'm going to try it. I'll let you know what happens.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Contracts of employment: all the way up to eleven

Following a conversation this morning and a client getting a strong reminder of the value of a good employment contract in recent days, I've set out 11 top tips on contracts of employment (yes, like Spinal Tap, we go up to 11.) If you have any questions we don't address below, get in touch. We'd be happy to help. 

1. Do I have to give every employee a contract? 

It's a legal requirement and damned good business sense to set out terms and conditions for permanent employees before you hire anyone. Even without a paper document in place, a contract will exist, whether you like it or not. If you don't write it, the employees can pretty much assume their own based on what's become common practice.

You are legally required to give every employee a written statement covering specified terms and conditions, within two months of them starting work for you. If you don't, the employee may seek support from the Employment Tribunal to determine their terms and conditions.

The penalties for not providing the statement an be pretty high for a business, with financial awards in the thousands.

A contract must be checked and confirmed as relevant to the employee- if not, an Employment Tribunal will infer terms and conditions, if you enter into dispute.

2. "There isn't a contract if I haven't put it in writing."

Often those that believe this also believe in a verbal contract being good enough when it's in their favour! It's WRONG. A verbal contract (particularly where the employee has already done some work in return for pay) is just as binding as a written one - though it is often difficult to prove the exact terms of a contract... and that's true for both parties.
So you know you have to provide employees with the written statement- we recommend that you make sure you have written evidence of any other contract terms. This is too important to cut corners on and places a business at risk if you don't take the time to do this right.
3. What does the written statement of terms and conditions cover?

You must include:

  • the employer's name and the name of the employee
  • the date their employment began
  • the date on which the period of 'continuous employment' began (if, for example, the employee previously worked for a company acquired by you)
  • pay and when it will be paid
  • information about working hours
  • entitlement to holidays and holiday pay
  • their job title or a brief description of their work
  • their place of work
  • details of disciplinary, dismissal and grievance rules and procedures

All employers, regardless of size, have to provide written details of disciplinary rules and procedures to employees and these must be fair and reasonable. There is an Acas Code of Practice that offers guidance and help- and be warned, if you unreasonably fail to follow it, an Employment Tribunal can increase any award made against you by up to 25%.

You must also include, or make readily available (e.g. on a Company intranet):

  • terms and conditions relating to sickness and injury, and sick pay (other than statutory sick pay)
  • terms and conditions relating to pensions, including whether a contracting out certificate is in place or whether your business is already enrolled in NEST)
  • the notice period the employee is obliged to give and entitled to receive for termination of the employment contract (and if you reserve the right to give payment in lieu, it would be sensible to say so)
  • how long the employment is intended to last (unless permanent)
  • any collective agreement which directly affects the employment

4. I want the employee to complete a probationary period. Is this OK and how long can this be? 

Yes. Three to six months is the normal timeframe and is usually long enough to allow you to judge whether the employee is going to work out- and for them to decide if they want to stay, of course! Don't worry unduly about terminating employment during this period- the law seems firmly on the side of the business here. Since 6 April 2012, employees have only been able to claim unfair dismissal after completing two years of continuous service. For employees who started their job before 6 April 2012, the qualifying period before an employee can claim unfair dismissal remains at one year.

5. Before I give them a contract I want to take up references and complete a medical. Can I do this?

Yes, of course. In fact, al contracts we prepare for clients include such a clause, else they are bound by the contract even if a truly shocking reference comes back, and will have to give full notice to the employee that they are dismissing them.

Take care that your medical criteria do not discriminate against any particular condition or disability. Under the Equality Act 2010 you may only ask a job applicant about their health under specific circumstances, such as helping you to decide about making reasonable adjustments for the person to attend interview, or to decide whether an applicant can complete tasks that are essential to the job. 

You must ensure that the level of fitness required is not in excess of the requirements of the job (do you really need a Jessica Ennis-a-like to run your IT?) If you're considering taking on someone who has an impairment that may amount to a disability, please make sure you consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act.

6. So what else is part of the contract?

Other documents may provide evidence of the contract- for example, the job description, correspondence, collective agreements or company policies if they are considered contractual terms. (We recommend that it is made clear what is and is not considered to be of contractual status.)

What is 'Custom and practice' in your company can become part of the contract. For example, if employees come to have 'reasonable' expectations of receiving a benefit, an Employment Tribunal is likely to interpret it as a contractual entitlement.

All contracts also include implied terms, whether written or not. Examples are:

  • your obligation to provide a secure, safe and healthy working environment
  • mutual obligations not to do anything that might undermine the relationship of mutual 'trust and confidence' between employer and employee
  • the employee's obligation to serve the business honestly and faithfully, obeying reasonable instructions and working with due diligence and skill
  • the employee's obligation not to undermine your business
Employees have statutory rights, such as the right to a minimum period of notice, protection against discrimination, the right to be (or not to be) a member of a trade union, and rights under working time and minimum wage legislation. The employment contract cannot override these statutory rights.

7. At what point does an employment contract become binding?

Once an unconditional offer of employment has been accepted by the employee, a contract exists. This may be considered to happen before the employment commences.

8. Are employment contracts the same for part-time employees?

Yes. Part-time employees have the same rights as and are entitled to be treated no less favourably than full-time employees. For example, they have rights to the same benefits and terms of employment (pro rata if necessary) as full-time employees, unless the failure to provide this benefit can be objectively justified- and that must be taken on a case-by-case basis.


9. Can I change an employment contract?

If you have reserved the right to amend the terms of the contract, then yes, provided you are not acting in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner.

If you have not reserved the right to amend the terms, then no, unless you obtain the employee's agreement or consent. The outcome, however, will depend partly on how serious the change is. For example, a cut in pay rates would normally justify an employee resigning and claiming constructive dismissal- although he or she would probably raise a grievance first because if they fail to do so, they could see a large reduction in any Tribunal award- up to 25%.

If a change is introduced and employees do not object, even if there is no formal agreement to the change, they may be taken to have agreed to it by carrying on working, particularly where the change has an immediate impact. But if they carry on working 'under protest', take advice, this can be damaging and create long-term problems.

Whatever the circumstances, the best approach is to discuss it with them and consult on changes. Explain why you want to make the change, and invite their suggestions and ideas.

10. What can I do if an employee won't agree to a change in their employment contract?

You could terminate the contract on full notice and offer to re-engage the employee on new terms of employment, beginning at the end of their notice period. There would be no breach of contract in this situation but there is a risk of employees claiming unfair dismissal, so seek good advice before commencing this course of action.

(Remember, that since 6 April 2012, employees have only been able to claim unfair dismissal, if dismissed, after two years of continuous service. For employees who commenced their employment before 6 April 2012, the qualifying period remains at one year.)

Dismissals can be fair if you can justify changes by clearly shoing that there is a business need. You must be able to show that the needs of the business outweigh any disadvantages to the employees, explain the business reasons fully and warn and consult employees over the required changes.

11. Are there any special terms I need to consider for senior employees and directors?

It tends to be harder to recruit a replacement for director's post or other senior role. It's a good idea to put a longer notice period in their contracts of employment so everyone can properly prepare for their departure, and allow for a handover period. You may also want to reserve the right to place the employee on 'garden leave' during the notice period.

Given their seniority, and access to commercially sensitive and confidential information and customer contracts, it is sensible to consider whether 'restraint of trade' clauses such as non-solicitation of clients and/or staff and confidentiality clauses should be included within their contract. Make sure you take advice.

There may be agreements on commission or bonus payments which need careful drafting. For directors, you also need to think about provisions relating to their position as directors- it is legally possible to sack a director as an employee but for them to remain in office as a director. What could this do to your business or morale?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


As many of you know, we work closely with Bastows, a specialist property restoration business that specialises in beautifying London's most prestigious homes. 

Bastows are a company of some 40 people- a small business that takes a big view on its position in the market, investment in its people and its social responsibilities.

Thanks to our efforts andinitiatives they have been shortlisted for the Family Business Place 'Customer First' Red Ribbon award and the 'Family Business of the Year' award to our growing list of things to cross our fingers for. What does this mean to us?

Treacletiger and Bastows have supported FBP and their great work to promote the interests of family businesses for over 2 years now. FBP work with the finest family businesses in the UK, including many which go back over 200 years. In 2013 Bastows celebrate 50 years of working in London; they look forward to their centenary in 2019, and we are privileged to be a part of their future plans.

We were so proud to stand with Bastows as they picked up the FBP 'Corporate Environmental Responsibility' award last November in recognition of their efforts to be a socially and enironmentally responsible and aware business, and to be shortlisted for their 'Innovation' award too; to add two more nominations to the tally this year is wonderful. It's testament to the great stuff we recommend they do - and the fact that they actually grab the ideas and do it!

The awards take place in London on 5th July. We hope to have reason to celebrate with them, and will keep you posted.

Family Business UnitedSo that's two nominations from Family Business Place in 2013. Enough? Hardly! We can add to this to Bastows' amazing achievement in making the shortlist of the Family Business United 'Family Business of the Year' award. This means Bastows not only complete a hat trick of achievements, but could mark 50 years of Making London Beautiful by being Family Business of the Year twice over! (PS- You can still vote for them here!)
This trio of nominations recognises Bastows' unique and unshakeable values and ethics, their dedicated people, their skills and their unique approach; we are proud to share this news and to have helped Bastows achieve so much in the years we have worked together.

Most of all, we are proud to cheerlead for them, and know that we are doing our best by one of the best clients any business could hope to have.

A measured approach

"What gets measured gets done."

It's not a phrase I've ever been overly fond of, but we had a real 'Aha!' moment yesterday which can be neatly encapsulated by that very expression.

We run safety audits for a client who specialise in large residential property refurbishment projects. We inherited a rather clunky audit system which meant we found ourselves completing two overly lengthy 'checklist' sheets full of duplication and irrelevant items. One was 23 pages long and took over two hours to work through. 

We didn't feel that sticking with this was going to help us deliver the value we'd promised the client; there was a moment where Steve and I looked at one another and said in almost perfect synchronisation "This isn't working for them."

One month after using this system, we asked to overhaul it and showed the client clearly why. We told them we'd need input from the Site Managers whose sites are subject to the audits- both to ge a clear picture of what they needed to get from them and so that the overhaul was done in the spirit of inclusion and fairness. We were given the OK to develop a new way of doing things in January. 

Steve felt that clear measurement was needed, rather than an endless checklist; we decided to try a scoring system that rewarded Site Managers and their teams with a mark out of 100, with points allocated to each area- for example scaffolding checks, quality of inductions, accuracy of documentation, and communication with residents and the team. Site Manager responded positively to the idea, so we worked on it with their input and finally got to trial it during the March audits.

Three weeks ago we audited a site and found a number of issues- none life-threatening, but basic things that really should not have been present on a site being run by such an experienced Site Manager. It meant that overall, the site was not up to their usual high standard, and so created concern. We used the new 'scoring' system to illustrate the key points and reported back. The score was quite a way below the benchmark we had agreed Site Managers should aim for; the gentleman in charge of the site was disappointed but felt that the points system was both clear and fair and showed him exactly where he needed to focus his energy and make improvements. He told us he was determined to increase his score by at least 20 for the next visit, and blow the benchmark target out of the water.

We completed another audit yesterday. He gained 28 points, a safer site, and a smile the size of Belgium when we revealed his score.

So far, the new system is proving successful. It'll be refined and developed, fine tuned and improved as we move forward, as all the best things should be. But the main thing is that it's added clarity and a sense of purpose to an area that had been confusing, lengthy and of limited value to the people being assessed.

It's also added a competitive edge, with Site Managers asking what their colleagues' sites have scored, spurring them on to do better. 

However for us, the real success is that we are already seeing improved safety and better awareness in all site staff, and that's never ever a bad thing.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Lethal managers

I've been working for some 23 years now, breaks for having my two children aside. In that time I've worked part time behind a bar, in a foreign exchange bureau and a video shop. I've held full time posts in retail, at a famous London attraction, in call centres, a bookmakers, as an HR manager, an office manager, a print salesperson, an HR manager again, and as a Director of a business. I've not taken a conventional career path to my current position, that's for sure.

The main reason for moving on from most of these roles wasn't a lack of job satisfaction (though that did figure in a couple of cases) but frustration with my managers. I've seen some truly shocking management behaviour- my experience in one call centre was a whole story in itself, and for another time.  And don't start me on the Director of the print business...

I've worked with managers who are lazy, disorganised, and who don't know how to motivate themselves, much less their teams. Managers who clearly loathe people, who are short-tempered and intolerant. Managers who play the blame game, finger pointing to take the heat off themselves. Managers who paper over the cracks, cover things up and refuse to share information or implement measures that would really help fix things. Managers who don't take responsibility, or make things clear. 

Managers who believe they can learn all they need to know from charismatic business and management gurus who shout a lot but have little of real value to share. 

In short, I've worked with managers who either a) didn't have the inherent skills needed for the role, b) have let power go to their heads or c) have been landed in a post with no real training support or development themselves.

There's an interesting infographic out there that seeks to encapsulate the key traits of a bad manager. I think it's a litle simplistic, and doesn't consider WHY they do what they do, but it's a good start for a conversation.

I titled this post 'Lethal Managers' because a truly bad manager can kill purpose, motivation and satisfaction; worse, they drive away good employees who would otherwise be loyal and productive. They can make other staff stressed out and sick. They can make terrible decisions that leave a business exposed to risk. 

They can be toxic for a business, and have an appalling effect on your position and image.

But let's not assume they don't want to change. There is hope for everyone, right? Right. If you have- or worse, employ- a manager that's costing you resources and testing the patience of those around them, take a step back and look at one thing you can do today to help matters. Talk to them, find out if they have any skills gaps that are creating problems. Agree a different way of tackling a key issue, and define a change you want to see in them in six weeks.

Bad managers need managing, or they'll create more trouble than they're worth.