Seven out of 10 employees claim they can do their boss’s job better.

Managers generally liked.

The Global State of Managers research from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace indicates seven out of 10 employees worldwide (69 per cent) say they can do their boss’s job better, despite nearly the same number of workers (71 per cent) grading their boss’s competence a B or better. The study examined how nearly 3,000 employees in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the UK, and the US would grade their manager’s effectiveness across five factors: communication, competence, empowerment, professional development, and support

Overall, managers are felt to be good at their jobs, with the majority of employees grading bosses an A or B for competence (71 per cent) – the highest grade given – and work ethic (70 per cent). Bosses also received high marks (B or better) for their communication skills, people management skills, and ability to handle performance-related issues (all 67 per cent).

The older the employee, however, the more critical they are of their boss: Baby Boomers and Gen Xers grade managers more harshly with a C, D, or F for overall people management skills (37 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively). Worldwide, the employee-manager connection remains critically important: 70 per cent of employees say their relationship with their manager is an extremely or very important factor when deciding to remain at their current job, with 22 per cent agreeing it’s somewhat important. Millennial (79 per cent) and Gen Z (73 per cent) employees feel strongest about the importance of the manager relationship for retention compared with Gen X (66 per cent) and Baby Boomer (62 per cent) counterparts.

While bosses worldwide are well regarded by their employees, these same employees think they could personally manage even more effectively, with younger Millennial (73 per cent) and Gen Z (70 per cent) employees most confident they could do better. Based on grades given of a C, D, or F, at least one in three employees feel their manager could improve at modeling work/life balance (37 per cent); their ability to coach for better job performance (37 per cent); handling performance-related issues (33 per cent); and communication (33 per cent). For overall people management skills, the majority of workers would “pass” their boss with an A (26 per cent), B (37 per cent), or C (25 per cent); yet 4 per cent of employees give a solid F for performance.

Indian employees are by far the most satisfied with their managers, with at least eight out of 10 grading managers an A or B in every category. Conversely, French, German, and U.K. workers are by far the most pessimistic about manager performance, as those countries ranked in the bottom three in every category surveyed. The most competent managerds were felt to be: India (87 per cent); Australia (76 per cent); Canada (75 per cent); Mexico (75 per cent); U.S. (71 per cent); Germany (62 per cent); U.K. (61 per cent); and France (59 per cent)

“As the working world continues to evolve, and new generations enter the workforce, styles, preferences, and perceptions will continue to change,” said Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos. “With the number of Millennial managers growing, attitudes toward aspects of management and working style will also change. As the student becomes the teacher, organisations should have a clear lesson plan for leadership development and effectiveness in key areas to set tomorrow’s managers up for ongoing success.”

“It’s no surprise that employees globally feel they can do their manager’s job more effectively – especially with the generation gap continuing to widen,” added Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and research director, Future Workplace. “It’s no surprise that employees globally feel they can do their manager’s job more effectively – especially with the generation gap continuing to widen. Organisations should take note of the state of their managers and continue their education and training – focusing in areas of relationship development, communication, and modeling empathy – while ensuring managers have time and bandwidth to regularly check in with employees to ensure harmony and satisfaction across the board.”

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