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Zero-Tolerance Managers

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Submitted By moundalek
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“The most basic premise of learning in an organizational sense is the detection and correction of error” (Moss and Sanchez, 2004). The need to correct errors, among other things, can explain the importance of feedback, particularly the constructive type. Feedback is of utmost importance and not properly addressing issues related to it can lead to a feedback back gap. Once this gap is discovered it is necessary to determine appropriate managerial strategies to close it. The feedback gap results from employees’ feedback avoiding behavior (FAB) and is usually due to fear of negative feedback (self-preservation needs) or appearing incompetent (impression management needs), and is widened by managers’ behavior since the latter determine the cost of feedback seeking (Moss and Sanchez, 2004).
One type of managers that negatively affects the feedback gap is the zero-tolerant manager. Usually emotionally and physically distant from his employees, this manager is oblivious to situational factors contributing to employee performance which in turn causes him to attribute poor performance to internal employee characteristics instead of taking the context into account. Employees avoid feedback from the zero-tolerant manager because they believe he will directly blame them while disregarding all other factors. Moss and Sanchez offer this type of managers a few solutions to reduce FAB and the feedback gap: such as having an open mind about causes of poor performance, managing psychological and physical distance, engaging in active listening and giving effective feedback. Perhaps, however, prevention is better than cure. Why not avoid or decrease the chances of appointing a zero-tolerant manager to begin with?
An article found in the archive of Harvard Business School “The Young and the Clueless” by Kerry A. Bunker, Kathy E. Kram and Sharon Ting, attributes some of the...

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