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What Employees Really Think About Their Bosses?

Employees collaborating with their boss in a positive work environment.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on pexels.com

According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center between July 17-23, 2023, the sentiments of American workers regarding their bosses were explored. The findings, based on responses from 5,057 workers, shed light on the prevailing attitudes despite challenges such as long-stagnant wages and contested return-to-office policies.

1. Overall Positive Perception: A noteworthy 55% of American workers rated their bosses as “excellent” or “very good.” This positive sentiment is indicative of general satisfaction among the workforce. Despite the challenges posed by the post-pandemic landscape, most employees hold favorable opinions about their supervisors.

2. Key Positive Traits Acknowledged: The Pew Research Center report highlighted several positive traits appreciated by employees. Workers value bosses who offer flexibility for a work-life balance, remain composed under pressure, and acknowledge and reward accomplishments. Examples of positive traits recognized include capability, fairness, confidence, and caring.

3. Importance of a Healthy Work Environment: The survey underscores the significance of positive workplace culture. A substantial 56% of workers, according to a 2019 Glassdoor survey, prioritize a strong workplace culture over salary. This indicates a growing recognition among employees that a positive and inclusive work environment contributes significantly to job satisfaction.

4. Traits Valued by Employees:

  • Capability: Employees appreciate bosses who demonstrate competence and proficiency in their roles.
  • Fairness: Fair treatment is crucial, with employees valuing leaders who treat them impartially.
  • Calm Under Pressure: The ability to stay composed in challenging situations is a highly valued trait.
  • Recognition of Efforts: Acknowledging and giving credit for hard work and achievements is appreciated by the majority.

5. Traits Less Preferred:

  • Dismissive Attitude: Fewer than one in five respondents described their bosses as dismissive, indicating a relatively low occurrence of this negative trait.
  • Unpredictability: A small percentage reported bosses as unpredictable, highlighting the importance of consistency in leadership.
  • Aggressiveness and Arrogance: Negative traits such as aggression and arrogance were attributed to a limited number of bosses, indicating that these characteristics are not widespread.

6. Lack of Significant Differences Across Demographics:

  • Income and Race: The survey found no substantial differences in responses based on income or race among white, Black, and Hispanic bosses.
  • Gender: Workers’ opinions were not significantly influenced by the gender of their supervisors, indicating a lack of gender preferences.

Despite the challenges presented by the post-pandemic landscape, the majority of American workers express positive sentiments toward their bosses. The recognition of positive traits and the emphasis on a healthy work culture underscore a shift in priorities among employees. Employers looking to foster positive relationships with their teams should take note of these insights, aiming to cultivate environments that prioritize fairness, recognition, and a healthy work-life balance.

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