It’s bad news – are you going to tell your manager?

Many workers are still not comfortable about sharing bad news with their managers, although the situation is improving, according to a survey of 900,000 employees.

While 51% felt it was OK to communicate bad news to their bosses a decade ago, this has increased to 65% of employees today, according to the research carried out by occupational psychologists Sirota.

But 35% of employees surveyed between 2001 and mid-2005 believe that top management at their companies does not encourage reporting important information up the management line – even if it is bad news.

This includes 37% of non-managers and 26% of managers who are unsure about sharing bad news with their bosses. 

While 74% of managers say their organisations encourage the reporting of important information – including bad news – up the management ranks, only 63% of non-managers think they do.

In all, Sirota surveyed more than 900,000 employees at 68 companies between 1991 and mid-2005.

Nick Starritt, managing director, Europe, Sirota Survey Intelligence, said: “Although managers are consistently more likely to report bad news to their bosses than non-managers, they are not hearing the whole story from a large proportion of their direct reports.”

“Since we have no way of knowing if employees in those areas where there are serious improprieties feel less free to report this information upward, the situation could be worse than depicted by the statistics.”

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