What Makes a Great Boss?

So, what does make a great boss? Is your boss “The Good Shepherd” or maybe “The Devil Wears Prada”?

While some employees may love their bosses – especially when some line managers are willing to go the extra mile for their employees:

“My boss offered to skip an important meeting and loan me money to drive me to get my car after it had been towed.” Male employee – West North Central

 – others are not so loved:

“I’m quitting my day job because my boss berates people in public for no reason.” Female employee – Pacific

And when Totaljobs investigated the relationship between bosses and reports in the UK, they also found signs of managers not doing as well as they thought they were.

To check the state of employee/boss relationships in the US, Good&Co asked the same relationship questions to 288 managers and 656 employees. While in the US, the relationships between direct reports and line managers are faring better than the UK, our study identified key areas where there could be room for improvement.

Bad Communication = More Stress

Our data showed US bosses felt competent in their management abilities, scoring on average 7.6 out of 10, with three out of five (59%) rating themselves highly (anything above an 8). And while employees rated their bosses on average, 7.1 out of 10, only one in two (52%) agreed their boss was highly competent.

Bosses who think they’re performing better than they are, suggest lousy communication as a common factor between them and their workers. This may explain why Korn Ferry’s survey found 35% of US employees said their boss is the most stressful part of their job. With this result, it’s hardly surprising that 55% of Americans are stressed during the day, 20% higher than the global average of 35%, and are looking to quit.

One impact of mixed signals from bosses is a sense of distrust in the workplace. While only half the number of employees feel they can trust their boss (49%), only one in three managers said they believed their workers (34%).

“Some of my employees are shifty. They will do exactly what is asked of them, and then behind your back complain about it and get pissed that they can’t sneak in extra breaks.” Female middle manager – South Atlantic

It seems the majority of bosses also feel unappreciated – only around a third said their reports understand how hard they work (37.5%).

The high level of mistrust among employees could also signify that a coercive leadership style is present. Bosses who manage with this style demand complete compliance, which ties in with the higher levels of compliance we found for reports (6%). A lack of trust could also be in light of the #metoo movement still being strong – whereby managers are nervous about litigation.

Despite a lack of trust, bosses are happy to socialize with their reports out of work (65%), reports, however, don’t feel the same. About 70% would never socialize with their boss out of work, while 18.5% would avoid them if they saw them outside.

Some employees said they found it awkward socializing with their boss, or claimed they had little in common. Others worked remotely and felt a complete disconnect with their boss.

“I’ve never actually met my current boss since I work remotely from home in Florida and they are in California. I don’t even get any communication from him/her.” Female employee – South Atlantic

When we looked at their personalities, we found bosses are 13% more sociable and enjoy networking more than employees. After all, bosses are also more likely than their employees to want to be in the top job (17%). How? They may use socializing and networking as a tactic to get themselves promoted, and their employees can see through this. This may also explain why the majority of bosses (65%) and reports (64%) view each other as colleagues – not friends.

Training to Build a Better Workplace

With only one in two reports (51%) rating their managers highly as workers, we wonder where they might be going wrong.

One possibility for discord could be a lack of training. Employees are unlikely to have received any training on how to communicate with their boss. Companies neglect leadership development, and managers are under-prepared for the role when they arrive.

Our survey reflects this – almost half of the bosses (40%) have never received line management training, and only 35% received it before starting the role. Just under a quarter said they received training shortly after officially starting line management duties (23%). Just under one in ten (9%), however, were given training when they began the role in a new company. For one in twenty, they weren’t given training until more than a year after taking on their role (5.5%).

While the majority of bosses who received training (81%) said they felt adequately prepared, it leaves us wondering about training quality and how management see their role.

We found most managers don’t feel competent when it comes to dealing with their employees’ problems. Only 13% of bosses said they feel confident in approaching their reports’ issues. Even more worrying, is only one in three felt confident dealing with their reports’ work-related problems (34%).

Employees haven’t stopped from going to their boss with problems, though. While only 24% would consider broaching issues with their boss, 70% are open about approaching them with work problems.

Perhaps bosses realize they are part of their employees’ work problems and steer clear, but it could also signify a lack of emotional intelligence. Both managers and workers had an average score of around 4 out of 6 for emotional intelligence, so while this figure is not worryingly low, it’s not respectively high either.

But are bosses reluctant to get involved with employees’ personal problems due to, as one manager commented, a fear of ‘crossing a line’ which might result in #metoo style accusations?

“For the most part the people that report to me are very respectful and I try to be respectful to them, however, dealing with personal problems of coworkers can be very awkward and finding the thin line that you can not cross can be a challenge.” Male – Pacific

It’s a pity some bosses feel this way when emotional intelligence skills are easily learned. Emotional intelligence isn’t just about being sensitive to other’s emotions. It includes, among other abilities, being able to read the temperature of the organization as well as being able to give feedback and guidance in developing others – critical components of management.

“The worst part of being a supervisor is having to do evaluations. Sometimes employees think they are better than what they are – they don’t think about all the negatives that they have done and think only positive things should be in an evaluation. It’s hard bringing things up to people.” Female manager – South Atlantic

But it isn’t just managers who’d benefit from better training in communication skills. Employees also stand to gain a lot from social skills training to help them talk to their boss.

Source - Read More at: good.co