Seeing Things Differently in Worker-Boss Relationship

A new survey of employees and managers finds workers want supervisors who guide them with clear goals and provide them with the motivation and tools to get there.

However, that’s not what many employees say they actually get from their boss; many bosses simply give orders and expect compliance, according to the survey from Adecco Staffing US

Adecco said that many bosses don’t see this trend in themselves, with 29% of bosses saying they are great coaches. Similarly, only 15% of bosses think their management style is “commanding,” but 23% of employees said their boss exhibited this style most.  Eighty-eight percent of employees agreed that a good boss is one who is willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in to get the job done.

In fact, 78% of bosses say they feel closer to their teams than they did three years ago, and 61% of employees agree.

“This survey clearly shows that while the Great Recession has resulted in some stronger bonds between bosses and employees, there’s still work to be done.  There is still a divide that exists between what employees want and what they feel they are getting from their leaders,” said Tig Gilliam, Chief Executive Officer of Adecco Group North America, in the news release.

Respondents were also asked about which celebrities they would prefer to have as a boss.  Thirty-seven percent of said they would want Oprah as their boss, President Barack Obama came in as a close second with 35%.  Only 4% of American employees would want former CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, as their boss, while former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell ranked only slightly better with 8%.

Meanwhile, only 30% of employees indicated they aspire to have their boss’s job.  Employees who have more responsibility outside of the office – those with children 18 or under at home – are more likely to aspire to have their boss’s job (39%, compared with 23%).

Facebook Friends? 

While 61% of employees consider their boss a friend, a majority of employees (82%) are not connected to their boss via a social network. Nearly one-third (32%) of employees who are connected to their boss on a social network site wish they weren’t, and almost half (45%) of those who are connected have adjusted their privacy settings to keep certain aspects of their profile blocked from their boss.

The part of their online profile employees fear their boss seeing the most is their opinions or beliefs in comments or posts (35%).  Only 27% feel this way about photos or videos online. More than one-third (35%) of men are worried about their boss seeing their photos, compared with only 20% of women.  That said, half (50%) of all women connected to their bosses online are more likely to adjust their privacy settings, compared with 40% of men.

Finally, 91% of employees think their boss respects them and they respect their boss, and 86% of employees trust their boss. However, that respect may decline as bosses get younger and employees get older; nearly three out of four (73%) employees reported they could respect and work with a boss who is under 25.  Fifty-six percent of employees indicated they could work with and respect a boss 20 years younger, compared with 68% who could feel this way if their boss were 10 years younger, and 83% if their boss were five years younger.

The survey covered 1,000 American employees and bosses.