In an office environment, the man or woman in charge can have a substantial effect on the happiness, wellbeing, and ultimately the productivity and output of all other staff members involved in the daily operation of the business. As such, recognising the traits and behaviours which promote positive action from the workforce is vital, as is understanding those which may be damaging in this regard.

A recent study of 1,023 US employees conducted by BambooHR has offered some insight in regards to the latter, revealing that as many as 44% of professionals surveyed have at one point quit their job primarily due to the actions or attitudes of their boss.

“When you have a boss you respect and admire, you are more likely to produce great work and enjoy your job,” the study’s authors wrote. “But when you have a bad boss, you’re much more likely to be upset, unengaged and ready to leave.”

So, what are the bad behaviours of which bosses should be wary?

By far the most damaging behaviour was found to be stealing credit for the work performed by other members of staff, with 63% of respondents saying this could be considered a deal breaker, and is at the very least considered unacceptable. Among those who reported quitting at least one job as a direct result of their boss, 20% cited stealing credit as the cause.

“No one wants a work environment in which employees are considering or compelled to leave because of a manager’s poor leadership skills,” the authors of the study wrote. “Employees want to receive recognition for their hard work and want to feel empowered, inspired, and cared for.

“Above all, employees want a boss who trusts them, cares for them as people, respects their work/life balance, and appreciates and acknowledges their hard work and good ideas.”

The study lists the top 10 most damaging behaviours as follows:
  1. Your boss takes credit for your work
  2. Your boss doesn’t appear to trust or empower you
  3. Your boss doesn’t seem to care if you’re overworked
  4. Your boss doesn’t advocate for you when it comes to monetary compensation (wages/salary/ bonuses)
  5. Your boss hires and/or promotes the wrong people
  6. Your boss doesn't back you up when there’s a dispute between you and one of your company’s clients
  7. Your boss doesn’t provide proper direction on assignments/roles
  8. Your boss micromanages you and doesn’t allow you the “freedom to work”
  9. Your boss focuses more on your weaknesses than your strengths
  10. Your boss doesn’t set clear expectations
However it is not specific behaviours which can negatively impact upon your workforce in terms of happiness, productivity, and staff retention; underlying traits can also influence employees’ reactions to the job and their superiors. The 5 most negative traits which a boss can display, as identified by the study, are as follows:
  1. Management style
  2. Condescending attitude
  3. Mean or had a bad temper
  4. Inappropriate behaviour
  5. Harassed employees

“These results highlight an opportunity for bosses and employers to hone in on the leadership aspects that irk employees the most and make the necessary steps to retain their best talent and foster a strong company culture,” the study’s authors assert. “By developing a culture that promotes positive leadership behaviors at the top, organizations will reap the benefits of a healthier, happier workforce.”


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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