- Even before the Great Resignation began, 60% of workers claimed that having a bad boss was enough reason to leave a job.
- Workers are worried that seeing their bad boss in person will be more challenging to manage than working with them online, where escaping the negative influence of a bad manager is much easier.
- Confronting a bad boss in person requires patience, endurance, perspective, integrity, and wit.
What is a “bad boss?” For some, the answer is subjective, but many would agree that a bad boss does not hold themselves personally accountable for their mistakes, including overall workplace failures.
Unfortunately, bad bosses are so commonplace — especially in large organizations — that they drive roughly half of the Great Resignation.
According to a recent Korn Ferry report, more than half (60%) of workers claim that they left their job due to having a bad boss, which is a datapoint corroborated by a Gallop poll in which 50% responded identically.
The influence of bad bosses on the workforce is even more dramatic when you consider that they actually aren’t that common in terms of sheer numbers. For instance, only 13% of bosses in Europe are rated as “bad” by employees. On the contrary, most bosses polled as average or above-average.
But no matter how small the number, these bad managers are a still a threat to the future of work because ill-equipped bosses have a powerful influence to get vast numbers of employees to leave their job.
A lousy boss in person is worse than online
With the Great Return spreading throughout the world of work, the same Korn Ferry report revealed that many workers have expressed worries about seeing their bad boss in person.
Working with an inadequate boss online comes with a unique bag of worms, but that bag deepens when workers are stuck in an office all day with a bad boss.
According to Korn Ferry, many workers (a 20% increase) believe that the pandemic has worsened their relationship with their boss, and most workers are worried that returning to the office will worsen their mental health.
Handling bad bosses in person requires patience, understanding, boundaries, and self-respect
Patience and understanding are crucial for making situations with a lousy boss better for everyone involved. A boss’s patent impatience and inconsiderate actions tend to illicit the same response from their employee.
The goal when trying to survive working with someone like this in person is to avoid stooping to a bad boss’s level.
If a worker knows that their boss is volatile and cannot take constructive criticism without having an outburst, and they hear a coworker priming themselves to criticize the boss, that worker can save them the trouble of enduring that reaction by warning them.
Examples of this are endless. Yet one crucial point from Korn Ferry’s report is that the specific scenario doesn’t matter when choosing a solution. When working with a bad boss in person, employees must approach the problem impersonally to survive.
If a boss is condescending, this can tempt others to get defensive, making some situations worse. Gleaning whether or not a boss’s “badness” is subjective or objective should be done by speaking with colleagues and coworkers about some of the feelings associated with this boss and whether or not they are shared within the in-person workspace.
While working on the relationship is worthwhile for both parties, patience and understanding will sometimes only go so far; reconciliation may not always be possible and can lead to an inevitable resignation.
To prevent employee turnover, organizations need to weed out bad bosses, but the Great Resignation shows that widespread efforts are not currently being made.