One in five UK employees have resigned over a terrible boss

19 May 2017 By Emily Burt

Managers depicted as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘negative’ in new survey

Most people have at least one bad boss horror story, which comes out over pints at the weekend. Now a survey out today has found that two in three people will work for an annoying boss at some point in their career, and one in five will resign because of them.

The Glassdoor study of 2,000 UK workers discovered that the most common issue with management was ‘disrespectful’ behaviour, which was flagged by almost half (43 per cent) of respondents, and ranged from ignoring employees to taking credit for others’ work.

More than one in three (34 per cent) claimed that their manager had a ‘negative attitude’, while 7 per cent were subjected to sexist comments on a regular basis. An unfortunate 4 per cent have suffered from bosses with bad body odour.

While two-fifths (40 per cent) of respondents said they would try to ignore an annoying manager, 18 per cent would alleviate frustrations by gossiping about them behind their back. A rogue 5 per cent said they would proactively try to get bad bosses fired.

Glassdoor also found that more than two-fifths (41 per cent) of workers had skipped work because of a terrible boss, 20 per cent had been forced to take sick leave and 21 per cent had resigned. Two per cent of employees took their absences a step further, saying they had ‘gone AWOL’ and simply left without telling anyone.

Moving within the organisation to escape a terrible boss was another popular tactic, with 15 per cent of women and 13 per cent of men saying they had requested a transfer to a new division.

“The saying ‘you don't leave your company, you leave your manager’ still holds true today,” said David Whitby, UK country manager at Glassdoor. “The good news is that you can become a better manager if you are willing to be self-reflective and open to feedback. Very few are born with the innate ability to become a leader, so, just like any other skill, it must be honed to help you get to where you want to be.”

CIPD data published in January suggested that senior managers lack the interpersonal skills necessary to effectively manage staff; 53 per cent of respondents described their people skills as ‘ineffective’, despite scoring highly on technical ability, and budgeting and financial management.

CIPD research adviser Dr Jill Miller said at the time that it was “very concerning” that leaders were rated so poorly for people management and development capabilities, and urged employers to focus on building a wide range of leadership skills.

“Organisations need to respond to this mismatch by making targeted investment in their leadership’s people management capability,” she said. “A strong talent pipeline, which promotes both strong people management and technical excellence, will support people to reach their full potential at work and is essential for a sustainable and high-performing business.”

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