Recruitment Tips, Employer Trends, and Hiring Insights from CareerBuilder

Leadership Development > Retention

Is Tolerance for Bad Bosses Trending Downward?

Boss/employee relationships are of great significance across all kinds of industries and geographic locations – from Scottish footballer Christophe Berra’s hope for an ideal boss to an explosion of media controversy after Scott McClellan’s former boss-bashing.

The opinions of what actually makes a boss “good” varies widely, but one thing is clear. Bosses who are demeaning, controlling, inflexible, and overall unpleasant to be around are not likely to mesh with today’s work force. That may seem like an obvious statement, yet we’ve all heard plenty of horror stories about bad bosses at dinner parties, happy hours, and even in candidate interviews. Have these overbearing bosses ever really fit into workplace culture, or have we just put up with them because we haven’t had a choice?

Either way, that trend seems to be ending and today’s workers are much more vocal and upfront about what they want from their career – and their employer. As Pepsi’s CEO Eric Foss says, it takes more than just money to make employees passionate or loyal to a company. The most interesting that’s learned from exit interviews, according to Foss? That employees leave because they feel they are underappreciated.

In one of her articles on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Maureen Moriarty stresses the need for bosses to lead by caring and sincerity, rather than by fear, power, and control, which she believes is not only negative but ineffective and unsustaining.

Moriarty goes a step further and says that today’s employees, with their low tolerance for uncaring bosses, usually leave workplaces because of a bad boss – not because of the organization as a whole. She says that insensitive and bullying bosses are leading causes of career derailment as well as mass employee exoduses, and stresses the need for a sympathetic and supportive managerial style.

What type of boss are you? Have you noticed shifting trends in workplace management or a correlation between bad bosses and employee resignations? Other thoughts?

Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.


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