Each year, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) program in San Francisco gets about 300 complaints from employees. But when the EEO investigates, it finds that a tiny portion -- under 10 percent -- are actually the result of discrimination or harassment. Rather, most complaints come from weak managerial skills that leave employees feeling mistreated when they're passed over for a raise or a promotion, or shifted from one job to another. "About 90 to 95 percent of our complaints identify issues with managers," says Linda Simon, deputy director of the city and county Department of Human Resources.
All the managerial systems in the world, it appears, aren't strong enough or thoughtful enough to overcome the problems that can be created by supervisors or managers who lack communication skills, fail to listen to employees, treat them poorly or don't provide honest feedback about job performance.