- Nearly half the employees in a new Robert Half (RH) poll said they quit their job because of a bad boss. Young professionals, ages 18 to 34, were more likely to leave a bad-behaving boss than older respondents, ages 35 to 54 (49%), and those 55 and older (41%). RH polled 2,800 office workers in 28 U.S. cities.
- Survey results were broken down by city, with Tampa, Florida; Sacramento, California; and Miami having the largest number of workers quitting their jobs because of a bad boss, and Atlanta, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Boston having the fewest number of workers forced out by a bad boss.
- "We've all heard horror stories about difficult managers — or experienced one firsthand," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, said in a media release. "Work styles and how well a person gets along with their supervisor can determine whether someone decides to join or remain at a company. Many times open communication and training can help to resolve issues and strengthen the professional relationship between bosses and their direct reports.”
As many as three-quarters of employees in a VitalSmart survey released in March said managers have "glaring flaws," such as being overwhelmed, poor listeners, unfair, distant and disorganized. However, survey results also found that employees fail to tell higher-ups about the boss's problems, with many choosing to quit their jobs instead. Discord between bosses and workers shouldn't be allowed to fester. And in a tight labor market, with acute talent shortages, HR can't afford to have a bad boss be the source of elevated turnover. But that also means HR may need to look into whether workers — including managers — are afraid to ask for training out of fear of seeming incompetent due to the company culture.
Besides lowering staff morale and driving employees to quit their jobs, toxic bosses could be a safety risk, according to research from Portland State University (PSU). The theory is that by mistreating and demoralizing subordinates, toxic bosses can impair their judgment, which, in turn, can create safety hazards in the workplace. HR leaders may not be able to end entirely bullying behavior from a boss or any employee, but they can draft and enforce no tolerance policies. And since workers often fail to report bad boss behavior, HR must be on the lookout for this kind of misconduct and intervene when necessary.