Nearly 80 per cent of British managers think 'over-politeness' could be costing their business money


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Research has revealed that the majority of British managers think that their over-politeness could be costing their organisation money.

You may think your boss can be a pain, but the results show that things could be much worse.

Nearly two thirds of business managers surveyed said they thought they were too polite when managing difficult situations at work - and 80 per cent of them said they believe excessive politeness and a reluctance to tell things straight is costing their company money.

In trying to deal with typical office issues, the figures show that many bosses are just too polite. 22 per cent said they have not challenged the people they manage about taking too long on their lunch break, with a further 21 saying they hadn't even challenged people coming into work late.

Amazingly, 20 per cent said they hadn't called someone out when they submitted a fraudulent expenses claim.

The reasons given for this silence doesn't really match up with the image of the boss as some kind of swaggering Don Draper-style figure.

A fifth said they hadn't challenged wrongdoing because they didn't want to upset anyone. Similar numbers said it wasn't because they didn't feel comfortable having difficult conversations with employees, or because they don't want to appear rude.


Adam Reynolds, the CEO of Webexpenses, the online expenses management company that commissioned the research, said: "The reluctance of UK managers to challenge their employees over simple discrepancies and a failure to observe simple workplace protocol could be costing these organisations a considerable amount of money and time."

It's not just their own staff that Britain's bosses seem afraid of - it's their clients, too.

A quarter of managers said they have not challenged a client over a late payment, and a fifth said they have deliberately avoided tricky conversations about doing work that they aren't being paid for.

But why are some managers so meek? Around a quarter said it was because they were concerned about losing business. It's ironic, considering that the reluctance of some of these managers to address concerns with clients could be costing their business money.

Reynolds put the issue down to "stereotypical British politeness", and said it's having an increasingly detrimental effect on the UK's businesses.

So there you have it - if you want your company to do better, you should hope for a nastier boss.