Bad boss worse than bad pay?

HRM 04 Dec 2012

It’s often said that people leave managers not jobs, but it’s not just turnover you need to worry about. If American figures translate to Singapore, companies here could be losing more than $300 billion a year in lost productivity thanks to bad bosses.

Career expert Michelle McQuaid estimates bad feelings about managers is costing companies in the US around $360 billion a year. Her survey of American workers found that most (65%) said a better boss would make them happier in their current jobs, while only 35% of those surveyed said that a pay raise would offer them the same happiness.

What’s more, 60% said they would be happier at work if they got along better with their bosses.

Those who didn’t like their bosses said they felt uninspired, unappreciated (31%) and even miserable, bored and lonely (15%).

The findings line up with a recent study from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which found that replacing a bad boss with a great boss increases productivity by the same amount as adding another worker to a nine person team.

“Using a normalisation, this implies that the average boss is about 1.75 times as productive as the average worker,” the report authors’ wrote, saying middle managers are often overlooked when studying leadership. "These bosses do matter, and they earn their pay," co-author Kathryn Shaw said.

In McQuaid’s survey, only 38% described their boss as “great”; 42% said that their bosses don’t work very hard and close to 20% said their boss has little or no integrity. Almost half (47%) said their boss does not stay calm or in control when stress levels are high.



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