It’s a much-touted cliché “People Don’t Leave Jobs, They Leave Bad Bosses”. Cliché or not there is a lot of truth in it.   A person’s relationship with their boss is one of the most important relationships in their life and can have a vast influence on their happiness and employee engagement.  That in turn can have a vast influence on retention, engagement and productivity.

Often though organisations and managers over-estimate how good those relationships are.  Here’s what we found when we polled nearly a thousand people on what they want (and get) from their managers.

Do you feel your manager supports your career progression?

People want to feel they have the opportunity and support to develop at work.  It’s one of the famous “Gallup 12” questions – “Is there someone at work who encourages your development”.   Given its importance you might expect most Managers would understand the need to support the career progression of their reports.

We found over 41% of people feeling their manager did not support their career progression.  If that’s mirrored in your teams, it’s a big number of people feeling unsupported – and feeling less engaged than they might.  What can you do to check and change it?

Do you get enough recognition from your manager?

Receiving recognition is again key to engagement and motivation.  It should be embedded in every culture.  Again you would expect most Managers to embed the giving of recognition.

We found over 45% of people felt they did not get enough recognition from their manger.   Again, that’s a huge proportion.    Recognition isn’t a costly benefit so it’s surprising so many cultures miss out on it.  Where is your culture on this and how can you enhance it?  The first step is understanding by you and your managers of where you are.


Hear from WorkInConfidence CEO Tim Martin as he assesses the results

Is your manager supportive when you are under pressure?

When your people are under pressure is when they really need support and value support.   It’s also when people’s impressions of their organisation are cemented (or broken).  In our survey Mangers did much better here – but still 22% of people felt their manager was not supportive when they are under pressure.

Is your manager trustworthy?

Trust is a crucial part of any good relationship – arguably the foundation.   In this area we found managers fared much better – 81% of people felt their manager is trustworthy. That’s encouraging and gives a good basis to build the support and recognition discussed above on. 

However, not to be complacent, if you do have managers who are not felt by their teams to be trustworthy people are unlikely to consult them with critical issues like harassment and bullying – so well worth checking how your managers fare.

What would you most like from your manager in 2020?

We checked what people most wanted from their manager.  Top at 40% was a pay rise. OK most managers may have limited ability to deliver one.  However, other highly sought after things for managers to deliver come with considerable upside and very limited cost – apart from time, effort and practice.  20% of people put more support when things are tough as top of their wish list from their manager and 18% more recognition – both easy to achieve.

So What?

It’s great to see a high proportion of people feeling their manager is trustworthy.  However, large numbers of people feel they don’t get enough recognition, support under pressure or for career progression.  These can be areas which are fairly straightforward to fix.  Fixing does start with measuring and understanding where you are and then committing to a plan of change and regularly reviewing whether that progress is working.

WorkInConfidence PULSE platform underpins a healthy culture by redefining how you connect, engage and communicate with your people. Protect your people by providing a secure environment for sharing issues or ideas. Understand and Learn about the health of your organisation with regular real-time measurements; Share and Excite by diving in, top to bottom, bottom to top and side to side where teams offer instant feedback on improvements and direction.