The worst boss trait? Micromanaging
- A micromanager is the worst kind of boss, a new Comparably survey found. Among the 2,248 anonymous respondents, 39% said being a micromanager was the worse trait a boss could have. Bosses who are "overly critical" came in second (22%), followed by being “disorganized” (16%), a “know-it-all” (14%) and “impatient” (9%). Respondents represented a broad demographic group, including women and men and people of all ages and ethnicities with various experiences and educational backgrounds.
- Micromanager was the top undesirable trait in bosses across every group except Gen Z and entry-level employees, who said being "disorganized", "overly critical" and "impatient" were worse than micromanaging. Women said being "overly critical" (28%) was nearly as bad as micromanaging (32%). Only 17% of men rated "overly critical" as a negative trait in bosses.
- Micromanaging tied with being "overly critical" (30%) among tech designers as the worst trait for a boss to have.
The old saying goes that employees join a company but leave a boss. While somewhat debunked in recent years, bad bosses remain a driver of job dissatisfaction in their own right. Since the ability to control one's work is a key aspect of job happiness, managers who use repressive management styles may hinder employers' retention efforts and any attempts at cultural change. Much of an employee's experience with a company is through their manager, after all.
Another study by West Monroe Partners found that most U.S. managers received no formal management training. Many said they developed their management style by observing other managers, which could forward bad behaviors if HR doesn't double down on development. On-demand training that suits managers' busy schedules and personalized training that fits their needs can help prevent bad boss habits from developing.
To remain ahead, HR must prepare managers for a changing world. With the growth in remote workers, telecommuters and contingent workers, micromanaging people is not only counter-productive — it's also increasingly impossible for a flexible workforce that requires trust.