According to this great article in Fast Company Magazine, most bosses don’t.  Fast Company reports on a new poll published by Adecco that shows the difference in perspective between how bosses view themselves vs. how their employees view them. The name of the article is “Poll: Why the Boss Sucks, By Employees” and it was written by Austin Carr.

The poll shows that most bosses consider themselves to be coaches and visionaries but their employees disagree. Many employees still consider their bosses too commanding – you know – bossy. But other stats from the poll are just as interesting.  74% of employees think their bosses should be willing to get their hands dirty to help the team get the job done.  I am pretty sure that most bosses are not doing that these days.  In fact, I think many of us have become a bit removed from what is actually taking place in our own teams on a day to day basis.  Oh, yes, I think our direct reports keep us apprised to a certain extent but let’s face it – they know that part of their job is to take care of things & keep you out of it.  That’s why you put them in charge of that team or function. They don’t want to burden you with the day to day and they certainly don’t want you to think they can’t handle it.  So, they gloss over stuff.  Can you blame them? Don’t you do the same with your boss?

The only way to really know what’s going on is to get involved.  I don’t necessarily mean you have to sit down everyday & roll up your sleeves.  But I do mean you should block time on your calendar and interact with people in your team.  Get to hear what they’re thinking, what they’re worrying about, what their ideas are.  If you just do that, I will guarantte that 2 things will happen: you will better understand what is going on in your team & make better decisions because of it and your team will feel that you are interested in them and that you care about the team.  I think that when employees say they want their bosses to roll up their sleeves & help the team, they really mean they just want their bosses to take time out to talk to them & connect with them.

One statistic in the poll concerned me but didn’t surprise me. About 70% of respondents said they did NOT aspire to have their bosses job.  That’s a big number, folks.  Now I understand that management isn’t for everyone and there will always be a percentage of people that are not interested in it.  But when an overwhelmingly large percentage of the corporate population says no thanks it’s as if you’re texting with capital letters.  To me, that says people are disillusioned and even angry with the corporate leadership today.  They see absolutely no value pursuing management because they probably either see it as sucking the energy out of them or not being able to make a positive difference to steer “the machine” in another direction.

Leaders forget that their employees are as observant as they are.   They forget that they are role models whether they want to be or not.  Unfortunately, bad role models are remembered more and seem to be more prevalent in corporations today. As leaders become disillusioned with their jobs, with their bosses and with the work they do,  it filters back to the staff in a myriad of ways. When leaders find themselves unable to make change and become just another cog in the wheel, their employees see it and react to it.  The reaction turns into disillusionment and disinterest to follow in their boss’ footsteps.

With so many respondents not interested in management, you begin to wonder what will happen to management in the future?  Will it cease to exist? Will it continue to be mediocre as it apparently is perceived by today’s employees?  What will have to change to make employees excited about taking on management challenges? 

None of us can take it upon ourselves to change 70% of corporate employees.  But we can start by changing those that feel that way in our teams.  Do you know who those are in your team?  Have you taken the time to find out what your employees are thinking? Have you asked them what’s not working and what is?  Can you honestly say with total conviction that you have a good understanding of what’s going on in your team, with your employees and how they view you?

If you can’t, then  that’s the place to start to take baby steps in reducing the 70%.  Chances are that what you’ll discover when you connect with your employees will be insightful and will help you manage and engage them better.

Are you ready to try?  I hope so.  Our future leaders need you to.