- Bad bosses play favorites in the workplace and have difficulty setting clear goals, according to a new survey by The Predictive Index, which collected responses from 5,104 workers. More than half (58%) of respondents said that a bad boss' worse trait is not setting clear goals.
- Respondents also said that bad bosses bad mouth colleagues (54%) and are focused on proving themselves right (52%). Good bosses, on the other hand, have a high work ethic (82%), are honest (80%) and are confident (79%), with a positive attitude and good sense of humor.
- Female and male bosses received similar ratings, with women earning an average rating of 7.3 and men earing an average of 7.2. Millennials bosses received a slightly higher rating from workers compared to managers of other generations, although none of the respondents expressed a preference based on age group. Feedback was critically important for the respondents; bosses who gave the right amount of feedback earned an average score of 8.6 from workers in the survey.
Bad bosses may lack the training that prepares them for their role, as managers that exhibit the kind of behavior described in the study likely aren't fit to lead in their organizations. HR professionals can take study results like these as an indication of a boss' ability or inability to inspire workers.
Findings from The Predictive Index line up with those of other recent studies, including two from Comparably. The first indicated that the worst bad boss traits include micromanagement, disorganization and a "know-it-all" attitude. The second showed that bad bosses are often a common stressor in the workplace. Ignoring complaints about bad bosses could force valued workers to leave. And in a tight labor market, retention should be a priority.
That said, boss behavior shouldn't be mistaken for poor performance. The descriptions of bad bosses in the study dealt with personality traits, which might be difficult to undo in traditional managerial training programs. Respectful bosses are on of the top employment demands among older workers, according to another recent study.