Survey: Most Workers Don't Want Their Boss's Job

Oct. 10, 2011
Not everyone is comfortable making the tough decisions.

A new survey concludes that fewer people are angling for the corner office than you might think.

More than three-quarters of employees polled by the staffing service OfficeTeam said they have no interest in their manager's position.

Another two-thirds of employees said they don't think they could do a better job than their boss.

"Many aspects of management involve making difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions, and not everyone is comfortable in this role," said Robert Hosking, executive director of Menlo Park, Calif.-based OfficeTeam. "Being a strong individual contributor does not necessarily equate to being an effective leader. The most successful bosses excel at motivating others to achieve great results."

OfficeTeam commissioned an independent research firm to conduct the survey, which is based on telephone interviews with 431 workers in office environments.

Workers were asked: "Would you like to have your manager's job?" A whopping 76% of survey respondents answered "no," while 21% said "yes."

Workers also were asked: "Do you think you could do a better job than your boss?" Of the survey respondents, 65% said "no," and 28% answered "yes." (The rest said "I don't know.")

The survey revealed that more workers between the ages of 18 and 34 wanted their manager's position (35%) than those in other age groups.

For those aspiring to be a leader, OfficeTeam identifies seven traits that potential leaders possess:

  1. Integrity. The best managers foster trust among employees by placing ethics first.
  2. Sound judgment. Top supervisors can be counted on to make tough decisions based on logic and rationale.
  3. Diplomacy. Handling challenging situations with tact and discretion is a must. Effective managers don't take all the credit for results -- they consistently acknowledge individual and team contributions.
  4. Adaptability. It's essential that leaders be able to think on their feet. They should be innovative while also encouraging team members to develop creative solutions.
  5. Strong communication. To motivate and guide employees, influential managers freely share their vision with others.
  6. Good listening skills. Successful bosses realize they don't have all the answers and seek input from colleagues.
  7. Influence. Great managers build strong networks within the organization to gain support for their ideas.
One last note: National Boss Day -- a time when employees give thanks and recognitions to their bosses -- is Oct. 17.

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