Happy Boss’ Day

Boss’s Day–Just when you thought you’d figured out all of the major gift-giving events and how to avoid them, one more finds its way onto your planner!  October 16, should you want to add it as a recurring, all-day event, and schedule something to keep you out of the office next year.   (While we’re in the gift-event-warning mode, Administrative Professionals’ Day (more syllables, but easier to punctuate) is on Wednesday of the last week in April.  One can only wonder how that date was determined.  Consider yourself notified.)

Employment agencies use Boss’s Day as a trigger for conducting “state of the workplace” employment surveys.  In 2010, I found this one, sponsored by Spherion Staffing.  They don’t paint a pretty picture.  Many workers think they could do a better job than their supervisor, but few would take their manager’s job.  Many workers think their boss is hindering their career development.  Gee.  You have to wonder why you bother  to sign the paychecks, if your workers are so miserable?

Bosses make workers unhappy, so workers claim

It gets worse–46% can’t discuss unethical workplace conditions with their manager (but then, 54% can), and 44% don’t want to talk about sensitive or confidential issues with their supervisor.  (I’ve heard two dentists tell me they would be ecstatic if they never had to handle another employee’s sensitive issue involving too much month at the end of the money!)  Clearly, 56% of workers do not feel such inhibition.

If you read on to the end, you’ll see a note about the mechanics of the survey–231 working adults, invited to participate by Monster Worldwide.  That’s the job board people, where people go who are looking for work.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “231 unhappy working adults?”  People who are happy in their work don’t spend much time on Monster.com.

Is there anything you can do to improve as a manager?

Is there any useful action you can take to improve yourself in your role as “boss,” using the information in this survey?

  • Support career development, when you can. (One of these days, I’ll write a post about why it is that everyone, in almost every business, thinks he or she can do the boss’ job better than the manager.  Only a very few employees are right about that, and in big companies, they tend to get promoted before long.)
  • Be as truthful as you can about job security.  (When I read that most workers felt the boss had been less-than-truthful, I wonder–the workers, are, after all, on Monster.com.  Obviously, they had reason to distrust their job security.  While they may not be “trusting” what they were told at work, the employees were taking action based on some form of communicated information.)

There wasn’t much else in the report that a first-time manager or business owner could take action on, frankly.   If it* were easy, everyone would be doing it.

*In this case, “it” = managing employees, but the sentence works for almost any hard problem.

Happy boss’s day.