OfficeTeam Survey: Nearly Half of Employees Said They Have Worked for Unreasonable Managers

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Abby Goodman
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MENLO PARK, CA -- It’s no wonder bad bosses often make it to the big screen: Many workers can relate. Nearly half (46 percent) of employees surveyed by OfficeTeam said they have worked for an unreasonable manager. Among those who have been beleaguered by challenging supervisors, most (59 percent) stayed in their jobs and either tried to address the situation or resolved to live with it.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with 441 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in an office environment.

Workers were asked, “Have you ever worked for an unreasonable boss?” Their responses:

Yes
46%
No
54%
 
100%

Workers who have had an unreasonable boss also were asked, “How did you respond?” Their responses:

Stayed put but tried to deal with the issue
35%
Quit my job eventually once I had another job lined up
27%
Stayed put and suffered through the torment
24%
Quit my job immediately without having another job lined up
11%
Don’t know/no answer
3%
 
100%

“Bad bosses aren’t necessarily bad people, but they certainly can make work challenging for those who report to them,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Often, individuals are promoted because they excel in a given job, but that doesn’t mean they have the skills to be effective leaders.”

Added Hosking, “Friction between supervisors and employees can stem from differing work styles. It’s not possible to control your boss’s actions, but you can change how you respond to them.”

OfficeTeam identifies five common types of challenging bosses and tips for working with them: 

Boss type

Coping strategy

The micromanager has trouble delegating tasks. This boss looks over your shoulder to make sure you complete a project exactly as told.

Trust is usually the issue here, so make sure you build it. Don’t miss deadlines, pay attention to details and keep your supervisor apprised of all the steps you’ve taken to ensure quality work.

The poor communicator provides little or no direction. Your assignments often have to be completed at the last minute or redone because goals and deadlines weren’t clearly explained.

At the outset of a project, ask for any information your boss has not yet provided. Diplomatically point out that these details are necessary to ensure you meet his or her expectations. Seek clarification when confused and arrange regular check-ins.

The bully wants to do things his or her way, or no way at all. Bosses like this also tend to be gruff with others and easily frustrated.

Stand up for yourself. The next time your supervisor shoots down your proposal, for example, calmly explain your rationale. Often, this type of manager will relent when presented with a voice of reason. 

The saboteur undermines the efforts of others and rarely recognizes individuals for a job well done. This supervisor takes credit for employees’ ideas but places blame on others when projects go awry.

Your job is to make your boss look good, but not at the expense of your own career advancement. Ensure your contributions are more visible to others, especially senior management. Get information in writing from this person so you have a chain of communications to refer to, if needed.

The mixed bag is always a surprise. This manager’s moods are unpredictable: He or she may confide in you one day and turn a cold shoulder the next. 

Try not to take this boss’s disposition personally. Stay calm and composed   when dealing with this supervisor. When he or she is on edge, try to limit communication to urgent matters. 

For additional information on how to collaborate with professionals who have different work styles, and a survey that can help you identify your own work preferences, visit www.officeteam.com/workstyle.

About OfficeTeam
OfficeTeam is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 315 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com

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