- About 22% of U.S. workers think they're more qualified than their boss, according to a new ResumeLab survey of 1,000 employees, Whatever You Do, Don't Be Smarter Than Your Boss. Of those who work in remote locations, 1 in 3 respondents said they hold this belief, and 26% of workers at midsize companies said they agree.
- A majority (61%) of those polled said they believe they can handle their manager's day-to-day duties. Demographically, men were more likely than women to think they are more qualified than their boss, as were millennials compared to other generations and mid-level managers compared to those in lower job levels.
- Superior people skills, a better understanding of the daily work and a better work ethic were the top reasons respondents gave when asked why they are more qualified than their boss. If they were in charge, respondents said they would create goals for employees, raise employee pay and foster team bonding, ResumeLab said.
Managers' leadership skills and knowledge have been the focus of a series of studies. One of the most telling reports is a recent Mercer poll of 1,154 HR leaders. Only 2% said they believe their performance management systems are exceptionally valuable.
A key part of performance management is providing clear career paths for employees. Professional development is now a top retention tool in a time of high turnover, according to Robert Half and other experts. In Robert Half's analysis, 41% of senior managers said their organizations offered development as a retention tool. Such a tactic plays off of the reality that job seekers and dissatisfied workers consider learning and development opportunities when they decide to take a new job. Providing direct reports with opportunities to learn new skills and advance their careers is not merely a retention strategy — it's also a way managers can demonstrate exceptional leadership.
Most workers in the ResumeLab survey did not think they were more qualified than their bosses, but those who do cited their manager's lack of soft skills, or people skills, as a leadership failing. Soft skills have emerged as highly sought-after skills in candidates, but managers may need training in these skills, too, if they want to motivate and engage employees to perform their best work.