But, no matter how many perks the company offers, it’s becoming more and more clear that an awesome work environment can turn toxic pretty quickly if the people that you work with are negative, disrespectful or incompetent. This is especially true about your managers, who essentially set the tone for your workday – each and every day.
Let’s face it, one factor in any job seeker’s decision to stay at a company or look for a new position is likely their boss. Almost everyone has worked with a terrible boss at least once in his (or her) lifetime. Whether your manager is consistently irritable, critical, demanding, passive aggressive or any number of other negative characteristics, chances are that your reaction is the same: dread.
Your stomach ties itself into knots; your hands get clammy before a big meeting; you generally feel unsupported and uncomfortable; and, when you’re not at work, you simply dread being there. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Wrong.
A recent study surveyed more than 1,000 employees at companies of various sizes, and found that workers who were consistently made to feel guilty or incompetent were rarely motivated or happy on the job. Further, a Swedish study found a correlation between incompetent bosses and workers’ risk for heart problems such as heart disease or angina.
Your boss literally has the power to make you sick.
That’s why it is so important for job seekers to make it a priority to learn more about your managers before accepting any new position. Here are some questions that you can ask during the interview process to get a better feel for your future boss:
- Please tell me a little bit about the person that would be my manager in this position.
- What is that person’s management style? Does s/he lead by example? Is s/he hands-on?
- May I talk to someone who is currently being managed by that person?
- Do you promote managers from within, or do you find candidates with previous experience?
- What programs do you have in place to train and inspire your leadership team?
The best companies are companies that spend time training their managers to set a positive tone for an open, innovative corporate culture. They communicate with employees and encourage efficiency, creativity and productivity at all levels. The worst companies just make their employees sick.
Make sure you know what kind of corporate environment you’d be delving into.