Study: 3 out of 4 workers have had a toxic boss
- Having a bad boss is pretty common, according to the results of a new Monster survey. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they currently have or recently had a toxic boss. And more than one-quarter described their bad bosses as "power-hungry" people who are looking out only for themselves.
- Almost a fifth of respondents described their bosses as "micromanagers," and another 17% said their bosses were "incompetent." By contrast, 19% of respondents said they view their bosses as mentors, people they can learn from and trust. Only 5% said they have a best-friend relationship with their manager.
- With Tuesday, Oct. 16, designated as National Boss Day, Penny Queller, senior VP and general manager of enterprise talent solutions at Monster, said it's a good time for employees to thank managers who have helped them grow throughout their careers and to reassess their current relationship with their boss. Queller, in a statement, warned employees against thinking that an occasional bad day is an excuse to quit, rather than a prompt to heed directions and constructive criticism. She added, however, that bosses who can't be trusted is a sign that employees need to find another job where they feel valued and challenged each day.
The Monster survey results may be troubling, but a recent OfficeTeam survey paints a more positive picture; 80% of respondents said they're happy with their bosses. Still, 20% of respondents gave their bosses so-so ratings. Nearly half said they view their bosses as good leaders, and 37% see their bosses as mentors and 34% consider their boss a friend. While more respondents in the OfficeTeam survey than the Monster survey said their bosses micromanage them, fewer called their bosses incompetent.
When bosses behave badly, businesses risk losing talent. Micromanaging was identified as the worst trait a boss can have in an April Comparably survey. In fact, micromanaging was the most problematic trait in managers for every employee demographic surveyed except Gen Z, tech employees and entry-level workers.
Allowing employees some control over their work leads to greater wellbeing and job satisfaction, according to a 2017 University of Birmingham research study. The results showed that the autonomy managers enjoyed (90%) over their own responsibilities is often lost on professionals, and even more so on other categories of employees.
Results from this study and others demonstrate the need for more managerial training. People often are promoted based on knowledge and skills, but managing requires a separate kind of expertise. More than half of managers polled in a West Monroe Partners study said they have had no training at all. HR must make sure bosses have the skills needed to be effective in guiding and inspiring workers, developing their careers and helping them meet organization goals.