Employees and Managers Avoid Confrontation over Worker Errors

August 1, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new study by Leadership IQ has found that in the past 90 days, 93% of employees have avoided confronting a coworker about inappropriate behavior, even when a customer or the company suffered as a result.

In addition, according to a Leadership IQ press release, in the past 90 days 81% of responding managers have avoided confronting a subordinate about inappropriate behavior, even when a customer or the company suffered as a result. The reverse is also true, as 89% of employees said they have avoided confronting their boss when he or she failed to fulfill an expectation or promise.

The ability to communicate about mistakes seems to have an influence on employee retention. The release said that a multiple regression analysis showed 37% of an employee’s willingness to stay at their company is driven by their comfort with speaking the truth about sensitive issues, indicating that if an employee does not feel comfortable talking about tough issues to their boss, coworkers or employees, they are more likely to consider quitting.

Most respondents (77%) said they do not speak up about sensitive topics because when they do the other party gets angry or defensive. Eighty-three percent of respondents said they occasionally or frequently withhold important information from bosses, coworkers and employees because they fear the conversation will end badly.

“Most people do not feel comfortable speaking the truth about sensitive topics,” commented Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ, in the release. “But when employees and leaders lack the confidence or training to have these tough conversations, the company and its customers will suffer.”

The survey about communication skills was conducted among 9,561 employees, managers and executives from 272 public, private, business and health care organizations. More information is at http://www.leadershipiq.com/speakthetruth.html .