Article: The making of a Bad Boss: Glassdoor Survey

Life @ Work

The making of a Bad Boss: Glassdoor Survey

A Glassdoor (UK) survey seeks to find answers to the question: what exactly makes an annoying boss, annoying?
The making of a Bad Boss: Glassdoor Survey

With a mission to find out exactly what makes an annoying boss annoying, Glassdoor (UK) interviewed nearly 2,000 employees to understand the worst habits of managers. The premise of the survey was the fact that the average company satisfaction scores are higher than average senior management rating, indicating that “employees are generally happier with their companies than the management they work under.” While the survey is conducted in UK, the findings are relatable to almost anyone (or 61% as the survey states) who has ever worked in a corporate office.

Here are the worst habits that make a bad boss:

  • Disrespectful - 43%

  • Negative attitude -34%

  • Lazy - 23%

  • Always talking about himself/herself - 16%

  • Inappropriate humor - 10%

  • Comes in late - 10%

  • Leaves early - 10%

  • Swearing- 8%

  • Loud phone calls - 8%

  • Sexist comments -7%

  • Racist comments – 4%

  • Body Odour – 4%

What’s interesting is that 40% of the female respondents felt that their bosses were ‘disrespectful’, 23% were annoyed by the laziness of their bosses and 9% admitted that they were the target of ‘sexist comments’.

On being asked how would one typically react to an annoying boss, here’ what the respondents had to say

  • Ignore them (40%)

  • Gossip about them to other colleagues (18%)

  • Talking to them (15%)

  • Confront the situation (12%)
  • Proactively try and get them fired (5%)

Furthermore, if viewed from the perspective of gender, 22% of the female respondents would gossip about them with colleagues, as opposed to 16% of the male respondents. But, 17% of the men would complain about their annoying bosses, as opposed to 13% of women. 

Regarding how a boss’ behavior is impacting their work-life, several surprising responses came about

  • Didn’t go to work because of a terrible boss (41%)

  • Resigned because of a terrible boss (21%)

  • Forced to take sick leaves because of a bad boss (20%)

  • Went AWOL; simply left their jobs because of a bad boss (2%)

More women than men (41% and 34% respectively) didn’t go into work owing to a terrible boss. However, 5% of the male respondents felt the need to talk about their issues and call a helpline, as opposed to 4% of women. Furthermore, asking for a transfer seemed like a more viable option for women, as 15% of the female respondents opting for the same, versus 13% of the male respondents opting for the same. 

The fact that a boss’s behavior can force somebody to go AWOL, work towards getting them proactively fired, leave a job or call in sick is rather troubling. While we’ve all worked under a difficult boss, at some point or another, or heard harrowing tales from friends and colleagues; the norm is that an overly annoying boss is considered a part and parcel of work life. As mentioned earlier, the universe for the survey was employees in UK, but the findings are likely to strike a chord for employees all over the globe. The organization needs to focus on just how big an impact inept managers are creating, and what is the best way to deal with one. Until then, employees have no option but to put up with them. 

The Glassdoor survey ends with some helpful tips for managers and bosses to manage and leader better. They are as follows and have been quoted directly

Use feedback constructively

Taking feedback well is important, but being able to actually use and implement that feedback is the mark of a great manager.

Emotional intelligence

Empathy is extremely important to getting employees to feel invested and do their best at work. These skills help you better understand, and negotiate with other people.


Lead by example, stand up and address problems when things are not always going smoothly. Your colleagues must look up to you, whether you’re working with them, or in charge of them.

Focus on listening

If you want others to listen to you, you must become a good listener. Make sure people understand that they can come and talk to you.

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Topics: Life @ Work, C-Suite, Leadership

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