Difficult bosses contaminate the workplace. Some do so obliviously, while others smugly manipulate their employees. The “bad boss” has become a comedic part of work culture, permeating movies and television, but when you actually work for one, there’s nothing funny about it.
Bad bosses cause irrevocable damage by hindering your performance and creating unnecessary stress. The stress they create is terrible for your health. Multiple studies have found that working for a bad boss increases your chance of having a heart attack by as much as 50%.
Even more troubling is the number of bad bosses out there. Gallup research found that 60% of government workers are miserable because of bad bosses. In another study 69% of US workers compared bosses with too much power to toddlers with too much power. The comparisons don’t stop there. Significant percentages of US workers describe their bosses as self-oriented (60%), stubborn (49%), and overly demanding (43%).
Most bosses aren’t surprised by these statistics. A DDI study found that 64% of managers admit that they need to work on their management skills. When asked where they should focus their efforts, managers overwhelmingly say, “Bringing in the numbers”; yet, they are most often fired for poor people skills.
So what do most people working for bad bosses do about it? Not much.
While 27% of people working for a bad boss quit as soon as they secure a new job and 11% quit without having secured a new job, an amazing 59% stay put. That’s an alarming number of people who are living with overwhelming stress and experiencing the trickle-down effects this has on their sanity and health.