Survey: 1 In 5 Workers Has A Bad Boss

One in five workers says their boss is hurting their career.A bad boss can derail careers, lower morale and hurt company's productivity. But how many workers actually are in this predicament? Quite a lot, if you believe the results of a new survey from Glassdoor, the employment-information company. The survey of 2,054 workers -- which was conducted by Harris Interactive -- found that 1 in 5 gave a negative grade to their boss.

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What are employees complaining about? Not surprisingly, the most common gripe that workers have with bosses is that they are "stopping or slowing" a pay raise (40 percent).

But workers who have bad bosses also complained that their managers :
  • Reduce or eliminate work-life balance (27 percent).
  • Discourage collaborative team work (26 percent).
  • Stop or slow next promotion (25 percent).

Any good bosses? Slightly more than half of the workers in the survey (52 percent) feel their bosses are having a positive impact on their careers. Interestingly, more men than women held that view (58 percent versus 47 percent). That could be a reflection of the fact that top management in corporate America still tends to be male-dominated, and the men in charge may take better care of their own through the "old boys' club." Indeed, research shows that when management is male-dominated, female employees find it harder to advance.

Bosses make unreasonable demands. Recently, a CareerBuilder survey found that nearly 1 in 4 workers complained that their bosses made unreasonable, even outrageous requests. In that survey, which was released last month, workers cataloged a long list, including being asked to act as a "surrogate mother" for a boss's child. (Careerbuilder is an AOL Jobs partner.)

More: How To Cope With A Mean Boss


So how should workers deal with a bad boss? AOL Jobs career expert Miriam Salpeter offered the following:

1. Consider the source. If you feel you're always on the receiving end of your boss's nastiness, keep in mind just how consistent the behavior is. As Salpeter notes, if your boss is "consistently critical and never credits you with positive accomplishments, recognize that it probably has nothing to do with you." That knowledge should allow you to take away whatever's constructive from the feedback.

2. Communicate. As tempting as it may be to try and cut off dialogue with a bad boss, avoid the urge. Where will that get you when you still have to work together? And to protect yourself, make sure you ask "specific questions," which should help limit the contact to the task at hand.

3. Don't allow yourself to be a victim of a bully. In the event that your boss is actually abusive, it's obviously important to document instances of the aggressive behavior. But the question is: What do you do when you've got the goods? Make sure "you've done your due diligence," Salpeter emphasizes, "because if your boss is generally well respected ... you probably aren't going to win any points by reporting the situation." And in the event that your boss has obvious backing, you should either "grin and bear it" or simply find a new job.

What do you think? Is your boss an obstacle to your success? Share your comments below.


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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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linda

I guess I to can add my.self to the list of workers who have been bullied for the last three to five years. I came down with cancer six years ago and lets just say I have been treated as though I am mentally deficient. I work in the health field. Instead of being treated with kindness , I have been bullied and micro managed. It has taken me longer to recover due to the constant mistreatment The undo stress has caused me to have a stroke and have a heart attack and a relapse .Life has been hard. But the only thing that has made me hold on is my faith. Although some have treated me well. I am well aware of the fact they have been inventing things and blowing them out of context. Its also a racial issue . I love my job . Just not the way I am treated.

May 19 2013 at 12:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
benaroundsum

I think 1 in 5 is actually a little low. After a lifetime of work I think most bosses are bad. And some people are fine UNTIL they are promoted to management. Something happens. I don't know why. Maybe they feel the pressure from above, etc. Sometimes I think they feel they have not be liked to be effective. I don't know. You just learn to live them if you can. I was pretty good at getting along most of the time. Only once did I quit a job over a terrible boss.

May 10 2013 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Just Trolling

I worked for the same boss for 5 years...3 of those without issue. All of a sudden he decided my performance was sub-par and put me on a corrective action,. He harassed me weekly about mundane crap. I reported to EEOC at our corporation who of course didn't find him at fault. After two years of completely being put through hell and total stress, I was finally laid off (can't say I was fired as they offered me a severance deal). They told me to be sure to have a an attorney review the severance, which I did, and they will now be paying me more than they initially offered me. The saddest part is, I don't want the package, and never wanted the package. I just wanted to be able to go to work without being treated like every little think I did was wrong. I truly would be much happier to have my job (not the same job, but a job within the company away from that bully) and it would have all been good. Now they stand to give me a lot more money because of certain laws they broke. I really think they thought I was stupid enough to jump on the package and walk away without having an attorney review it. The underestimated me,big time.

May 10 2013 at 5:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Longwayoutahell

I find this really amusing. I am in my mid 50's a woman. Caucasian.And have a basic highschool education. I have worked since 16 years old. I have be hired like 12 times in different jobs ranging from courrier , dental assisting, call centers. I have seen pure evil among WOMEN superiors. They will make life a living hell if you do not comply and by that I mean even lie for them. I have been a victim of racial bigotry by a mostly all black company. Yes. Blacks wanted their own kind no matter how badly behaved /ghetto they act. Im at the point were i feel Im too f*c%G old for this bS and here I am working my 4th week in a new job at a small air conditioning company with just a dispatcher and another paper pusher girl and between the both of them I am being harrassed. The harrasment stems from them telling me Im doing everything wrong from putting an extra red check on an invoice item to stapling a paper to many times. I dont believe in being confrontational , but I do speak up and today I told the dispatch witch did she hear herself talking..How does she think she sounds when she talks to me like this? By this I mean SCREAMING about mistakes that are of a petty nature.All she does is scream and rant all day anyway so i assume its not about me really , its her problem handling easy to fix situations with panic and tantrums. The bottom line is, the 2 owners of the company LET her decide on everything and shes really good on taking care of all the buisness ends ...She say to me the 2nd day.." I was let go but they took me back."Whoah! Like whats the point here witch? Is she telling me she has power and authority in the company? Yeah.. Well, she does not know she has met her match and I will open up that crackhead mental chamber she has for a brain with some choice words if she dare try to intimidate me EVER.

May 09 2013 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vallontina

You must be reading my mind. It's been over 33 years since I left Pru because of a bad boss. I have an idea where my ex-boss lives, now 85 and probably retired years ago on a very comfortable pension - whereas I was cheated out of one. You see years ago they liked to turn over their claims people before they hit the 5 year mark so they couldn't get vested in the pension plan. Well when I got close to that time, the manager put me under the direction of a little assistant manager Hitler type guy who made my life absolutely miserable. I caught him putting BS notes in my personnel file one day. When I called them on it, they backed off for a while but later (after them removed the notes) it started all over again. I was working 60+ hours a week and told it was mandatory while others in my department didn't have to. It was horrible. I quit before they made up more BS to fire me. I want to write the ex-boss a letter for my own therapy just so they know what it did to my life!

May 09 2013 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SweetfeetBaby

One in five sounds about right. Five worked for me, and four of them tell others that I'm an awesome boss. The fifth pretends to listen to instructions with glazed over eyes, and continues doing everything her own way. Her "own way" however endangers customer's health, as well as causing them to be dissatisfied with our
product. I don't know where she works now, but when I find out I'll be in touch with her new boss, AND with the Health Department. She's in her late 50's and has done the same job for at least 30 years. I think we can admit that there are as many intractable employes, as bad bosses, & probably a lot more. It's not a "boss" thing. It's a human thing.

May 09 2013 at 6:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
liondog96

Well, last boss I took to EEOC mediation and got $10,000 out of the employer. I also got the EEOC after the fire department I was discriminated at....so I don't know. These bosses pay up pretty good.

May 09 2013 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hello Mattie!

I am so glad to be rid of my cretin of a boss! This caprecious jackass couldn't make up his mind whether to crap or go blind! Since he is one of many owners of this place, no one opposes him or calls him on his lack of leadership skills or indecisiveness. One would think that after being not just told but shown his shortcomings over and over again, that he would be so embarassed that he would shape up, but instead he has gotten worse in the past four years. Because of him, the company has had a huge turnover of employees, and now it is getting around the industry that this is not a company to work for. The other owner is clueless, and is his "BFF".

May 09 2013 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rudniski136

I am thankfully retired but I am appalled at the stories of the unprofessional behavior exhibited by many of my working friend's bosses. What ever happened to having some class and behaving in a polite manner?

May 09 2013 at 4:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Rhianon

I am in a motorcycle club. Everytime I have a crappy boss, they get beat up. Plain & simple. Sometimes they don't come in to work the next day. I know why but the other workers do not. If you treat me like crap, you will get crap work from me. I am a good person. Treat me with respect, I will give 110%. That's just common sense....to all you dumb-ass bosses out there reading this.

May 09 2013 at 2:43 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rhianon's comment
terryreno

Oh Rhianon.........I loved your post...........I work in a casino and it aint the bosses it's the customers who got money, we have to take thier crap & just were saying the other day, we wish we knew a bike club where they would be the **** out of some of them .I ride a Harley,but dont belong to a club like you............I JUST WISH !!!!!!!!!. I like you give 110% & these people lose some money and treat you like crap ,call you names, threw stuff.................anyway best to you honey,plain and simple.............

May 10 2013 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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