You might not actually hate your manager; hate, after all, is a pretty strong emotion. But you probably do have at least a few gripes about her. The reasons why people dislike their managers are fairly consistent. Managers could make everyone's work life a little easier by taking note; companies could also retain more employees. In a 2011 study conducted by Development Dimensions International, a talent management expert company, 39 percent of employees left jobs because of their bosses, and 55 percent considered leaving for the same reason.
Your company hired you to do a job, but your manager won't let you do it. If your manager insists on watching every step you take and telling you what to do and how and when to do it, you've got a micromanager for a boss. Micromanagers also take your work apart and redo it, even when what you've done is perfectly fine. Micromanaging is a sign of a manager obsessed with work: theirs, and yours -- by extension, according to a 2010 "Inside Business" article. But being micromanaged stifles your creativity and destroys your confidence and self-esteem.
At the other end of the spectrum from the micromanager is the manager who doesn't manage at all, or who manages so incompetently that the office would run better if she stayed home. Managers aren't hired to do your job; they're hired to oversee, give guidance and take care of problems such as workers who don't work. When a manager doesn't do this, the whole office takes on a "what's the use" attitude about work. Productivity drops, morale sinks and soon, the office is looking for a roomful of new employees to replace the ones that left.
Some managers don't appear to like any of their underlings, but many play favorites. It's often difficult to see exactly why the boss has picked certain people to be teacher's pets; they're not always the smartest or the hardest workers. What's certain is that they, in some way, build up or validate your manager; they wouldn't be her pets if they didn't. In the DDI study, 34 percent of employees claimed their bosses played favorites. Favoritism takes its toll when favorites are promoted over better employees, a 2011 NBC New Careers article warns. The practice destroys morale, discourages those who aren't favorites from doing their best work and sabotages team effectiveness, the DDI study states.
Suspicion and Distrust
A manager who doesn't trust you spends a lot of time sneaking around behind you, listening to your conversations, reading whatever you leave on your desk, monitoring your email and computer use, timing your bathroom breaks and talking to other people about you. A 2007 Florida State University study published in the fall issue of "The Leadership Quarterly" stated that 27 percent of employees reported that their boss talked negatively to other people about them and 24 percent said their boss invaded their privacy. Being stalked can make you paranoid and make you feeling guilty even if you haven't done anything wrong.
Lack of Appreciation
Some managers find it very difficult to show appreciation. The word "thanks" just seems to get stuck in their throats. But employees appreciate a kind word or compliment now and then. In the Florida State University study, 37 percent of respondents said their manager failed to give credit where credit was due. Managers hurt the company by failing to show appreciation or by going to the extreme of treating employees with disrespect. The least competent and most threatened employees are the ones who stay, out of fear of not finding another job, while the top performers leave for greener pastures, according to Advanced Leadership Consulting.
- Inside Business: Why Some Bosses Micromanage
- Development Dimension International: How Employees Around the World View Their Bosses
- Advanced Leadership Consulting: Why Great Employees Quit: What You Can Do to Keep Them
- Florida State University: FSU News: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Boss? Plenty of Us, New FSU Study Shows
- NBC News Careers: No Promotion Yet? Maybe You're Not the Boss's Favorite
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
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