WORKPLACE / NOV. 21, 2014
version 6, draft 6

84% Think They Can Do A Better Job Than Their Boss

It’s often easy, not to mention tempting, to think that our boss is a complete idiot, and that we could easily do a much better job than them.  Well, it turns out that you wouldn’t be alone if you had that thought, because a recent survey from the recruitment website revealed that many of us have those exact thoughts.

The survey, of just under 5,000 employees, included the following question:

In your current or most recent job, do you think you could do a better job than your manager?”

Well, of the people who responded, a whopping 84% of them believed that they could.  When broken down by country, it emerged that Indians were especially scathing towards their bosses, with 87% believing they could do a better job.  This compared to a relatively small 72% in France.

It all paints a rather bleak picture if you’re a manager in the workforce today, with an almost universal lack of respect for you, your talents, and the work that you do.

If you don’t respect your boss, it’s time to start exploring your options for making a move. Perhaps you would like a lateral move, as you could be a valuable asset to another workplace, working under someone you find more inspiring. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, maybe it’s time to start thinking about becoming the boss yourself,” say Monster.

Where for art thou respected boss?

The problem is, of course, if the majority of people think their boss is hopeless, where exactly are you going to go to find a better one?

Joking aside though, why do so many bad bosses get to the top?  I wrote recently about the potent combination of intelligence and psychopathic tendencies that often help leaders get to the top, but surely recruiters must be a bit savvier by now?  They must see through the tricks, right?

Sadly, that’s often not the case at all.  Far too often, managers get promoted based upon their expertise as a specialist.  They might be a great engineer or software developer, but that doesn’t mean they’ll make a great manager.  After all, the skillsets could hardly be more different, so why do we expect star performers to flourish when put into a completely different role?

Another classic mistake is to promote someone based upon their seniority.  I wrote recently about an INSEAD study showing that millennials want to be given leadership responsibility.  It’s well known that some of the best teams ever, including those such as the team that developed the atom bomb, have been staffed with people in their 20’s.  And yet we so often assume that management is only something you can do when you’re older.

A final major reason for promotional mistakes is that we often think irrationally when promoting someone.  Research has been done to identify the best ways to brown nose your way to the top, with seven strategies identified (see my post on them here).  Whilst that’s great for suck ups, it’s not great for the organisation that’s promoting someone based on factors other than their actual abilities.

So, with of these factors contributing to managerial promotion, it’s perhaps not that surprising that we have so many bad managers out there.  If anything, it’s really what we should expect, right?

How would you rate your own boss?  Could you do a better job? Your thoughts and comments below please…

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