How’s the Boss?

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How's the Boss?

More and more Americans are reporting being unhappy at work. And for many of those disgruntled employees, one of the biggest reasons is their boss. How happy are workers with their supervisors and what do the best (and worst) managers have in common?

Unhappy Days

7 in 10

U.S. workers who are emotionally disconnected from their workplace (1)

All these disengaged workers cost the U.S. economy an estimated $450 billion each year in lost productivity. (1)


Employees who are actively engaged and thriving at work (1)

Actively disengaged workers by year (1)

2000: 18%

2001: 16%

2002: 17%

2003: 17%

2004: 17%

2005: 15%

2006: 15%

2007: 20%

2008: 20%

2009: 18%

2010: 19%

2011: 19%

2012: 18%

What's the Problem?

More than 1 in 2

Workers who feel they could do a better job than their manager (2)

Top causes of workplace unhappiness (3)

Not liking your boss: 31%

Internal politics: 35%

Lack of empowerment: 31%

Lack of recognition: 43%

57% of employees who aren't engaged say they feel ignored at work. (1)

Top potential management behaviors that would make workers leave their jobs (4)

Belittlement in front of others: 40.5%

Lying: 34.2%

Condescension: 31.5%

Humiliation: 23.9%

Micromanagement: 21.9%

What Makes a Good Boss?

We've seen how important a good manager is to an employee's job satisfaction, but what exactly does that mean? What makes a good boss (and a bad one)?

Good (5, 6)

Having respect for employees' talents and time

Showing gratitude and appreciation

Placing faith and trust in employees

Providing coaches and resources needed to get things done

Helping fix situations rather than placing blame

Communicating goals and updating progress

Bad (3)

Providing little to no guidance

Belittling employees, whether in public or private

Participating in office politics

Taking credit for others' ideas

Refusal to accept blame for failures

Frequent yelling