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October 2017
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TD Magazine
Backseat Bosses

Some employees believe they'd be better than their managers.

Do you think you could do a better job than your boss? According to a recent study from Comparably, you wouldn't be alone.

About one-third of survey respondents—20,000 employees at public and private tech companies—said they thought they could do a better job in their manager's stead. Men and women were about even in their responses, at 36 percent and 34 percent, respectively. However, people were more likely to feel this way the older they got. Of employees aged 51 to 55, about 40 percent are confident they could do a better job, compared with about 30 percent each among 18- to 25-year-olds and 56- to 60-year-olds.

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So, what would these employees change first if they were the boss?

The most popular response was "vision and strategy," at 33 percent. "Improving office culture," at 23 percent, and "increase employee pay," at 22 percent, rounded out the top three. People in administrative and customer support roles, however, considered a pay increase to be the priority, while those in finance ranked all three changes as equally important.

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It's not surprising, then, that most respondents (60 percent) are comfortable with giving their bosses negative feedback. Fifty-eight percent of women are OK with providing negative feedback, compared with 65 percent of men, although women in executive roles are slightly more comfortable doing so than men in those roles. And while there is no overall age trend, those between the ages of 26 and 40 generally are more comfortable, peaking at 66 percent among 36- to 40-year-olds.

And when it comes to complaints about their current bosses, communication is by far the number one behavior respondents want their managers to improve. Half placed this at the top of their list, compared with accountability (20 percent) and positivity (14 percent), the next two most popular responses.

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About the Author
Caroline Coppel is an associate editor for ATD Press.
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