The Second Annual People Management Report by The Predictive Index Identifies the Subtle Ways Managers Sabotage Their Teams

1,000+ Employees Across 13 Industries Identify the Impact of Psychological Safety on Manager Ratings and Turnover Intent

BOSTON, Mass–September 25, 2019 – While there are overt ways managers undercut employees (e.g., “bad mouthing employees” and “playing favorites”), the 2019 People Management Report reveals the subtle ways managers sabotage their teams—ultimately causing employees to quit. 

To uncover the more obscure ways managers may be hindering their teams, The Predictive Index—the leader in talent optimization—asked 1,000+ employees to rate their manager on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being “terrible” and 5 being “world-class”). Responses were then analyzed in relationship to a series of questions relating to psychological safety, turnover intent, and their organization. 

Key Findings

Managers who create psychologically unsafe environments sabotage their teams

1,000+ employees rated 14 items related to psychological safety. The data shows that great managers create psychologically safe environments. Here are the top four ways bad managers subtly sabotage employee experience by creating psychologically unsafe environments: 

  1. 80% create frustration 
  2. 43% are unapproachable when it comes to discussing tough issues
  3. 25% don’t respect their employees’ values 
  4. 20% don’t value for their employees’ unique skills 


Psychologically safe employees are less likely to quit

Across the board, employees who felt more psychologically safe at work indicated that they were less likely to look for work in the next 12 months. The study found a strong correlation between all 14 psychological safety items and turnover intent. Notable among them, respondents least likely to leave their company strongly agreed with the statement, “I can easily approach my manager to ask for help,” while respondents most likely to leave disagreed. 

“Managers play a pivotal role in creating an exceptional employee experience,” said Jackie Dube, VP of Talent Optimization at The Predictive Index, which, in large part, has to do with establishing a psychologically safe work environment. The report shows that employees who don’t feel psychologically safe are more likely to express a desire to leave. The implications have far-reaching bottom-line impact. With no end in sight to the war for talent, employee retention should be a top priority for leaders—and it starts with their managers.” 


The No. 1 skill managers lack is team building

When asked which skill their manager lacked most, nearly 30% of employees said their manager lacks team-building skills. Surprisingly, all managers—including “good” and even “world-class” managers—show room for improvement when it comes to team building. It’s interesting to note that when managers were asked what was “top of mind” as part of the 2018 People Management Study, team building didn’t make the cut. It’s clear employees feel differently.


Managers who have access to people data are better at their jobs

Managers who have access to behavioral data ranked higher as managers overall. This may be because people data insights increase manager self-awareness—and give managers clarity regarding how their employees are wired to think and work.  


Age is nothing but a number (when it comes to manager effectiveness)

Given that today’s workforce is the most age-diverse in U.S. history, much is made of the impact of multigenerational teams. However, the study found that when it comes to people management, differences in age between managers and direct reports have a negligible impact. In fact, the average rating across the board for all managers was 3.6 out of 5—regardless of the age relationship between the manager and direct report. 

A full copy of the 2019 People Management Report is available at: https://www.predictiveindex.com/content/reports/people-management-report.


About The Predictive Index

The Predictive Index (PI) is an award-winning talent optimization platform that aligns business strategy with people strategy for optimal business results. More than 60 years of proven science, software, and a robust curriculum of insightful management workshops make PI the solution for any company looking to design great teams and cultures, make objective hiring decisions, and inspire greatness in their people around the world. More than 7,500 clients use PI—including Nissan, Citizens Bank, DocuSign, Subway, 47 Brand, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Omni Hotels—across 140+ countries. Learn more at https://www.predictiveindex.com/.


Media Contact:

Jennifer Moebius

The Predictive Index