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Boss from hell: less than one in five Brits trust their manager, survey finds

Half of Brits have quit a job due to a bad relationship with a boss. Photo: Amy Hirschi/Unsplash

Less than a fifth of UK employees trust their boss, with almost half quitting a job because of this “poor relationship” at some point in their career.

A survey of over 2,000 workers by Totaljobs has revealed a worrying disconnect between managers and their reports or subordinates.

Just 18% of workers said they trust their boss, with issues like playing favourites (49%), speaking behind people’s backs (43%), and taking credit for other people’s work (36%) bothering the overwhelming majority.

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In fact, half (49%) of Brits have quit a job at some point due to their relationship with their boss going sour.

Because of this divide, Brits are holding back at work. Just a third (34%) believe they can approach their manager about a work-related issue, dropping to one in five when it comes to a personal problem.

This is completely at odds with what managers believe. Four in five consider themselves to be trustworthy and approachable bosses.

Untrained managers

Becoming a good boss isn’t easy. So how prepared do bosses feel when asked to take on the responsibilities of managing others?

The data isn’t encouraging: four in 10 managers said that they have never received any management training, with 18% only receiving training more than a year after having taken up their new responsibilities.

This lack of preparation could be responsible for the high rate of “impostor phenomenon” at managerial levels – a whopping 78% of junior managers admitted to feeling like a professional phoney at least once during their careers.

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Even with some of the most fundamental tasks a manager can perform, there appear to be signs of training shortfalls. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of managers have conducted job interviews without any training.

And 37% of Brits have withdrawn a job application because of the interviewer’s behaviour.

Also past the interview stage, the relationship between managers and employees isn’t functioning well as it should.

Out of office

There’s little chance managers will be invited to many employee barbecues this summer, as two in five (59%) said they never socialise with their bosses.

A third (34%) said they would go so far as to actively avoid their managers if they spotted them in public.

Why? Almost half (46%) reasoned that they don’t believe they have anything in common, while a third (31%) said they would simply find crossing paths too awkward.

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Despite this, very few report that they hate their bosses. Half (48%) simply prefer to consider their relationship to be that of “just colleagues”.

Similarly, two-thirds of managers consider their relationship to be strictly professional.

So, what makes a successful relationship with your manager?

Brits said clear objectives (52%), task-specific feedback (49%) and detailed job descriptions (46%) are the best things managers can do for them.