If you aren't very fond of your boss and wish he would take a job elsewhere, the feeling is probably mutual, new research shows.
A study by CareerBuilder revealed that more than a quarter of bosses have an employee who reports to them that they would like to see leave the company. The results were nearly equal by gender, but varied significantly by age, with 32 percent of younger managers, those under age 35, having an employee they would like to leave, compared to just 24 percent of managers over 55.
Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, said it's important that managers be as direct as possible when dealing with employees who, for whatever reason, aren't a good fit for their teams.
"Fortunately, a plurality of managers in our survey were open to confronting the situation through a formal discussion or warning; however, some will do nothing at all, or even resort to passive aggressive behaviors that can only prolong a negative working arrangement," Haefner said. "It's important that workers be aware of such warning signs, and if necessary, take steps to improve their situations."
The research found that when dealing with an employee they would like to leave, the most popular method for managers is to issue a formal warning.
However, bosses aren't always as straightforward. Other things the study discovered managers are more likely to do that may serve as a red flag for workers include regularly pointing out shortcomings in the employee's performance, reducing their responsibilities, hiring someone else to eventually replace the employee and moving them to another work area.
In addition, keeping employees out of the loop regarding new company developments, communicating primarily over email instead of in-person or on the phone, excluding them from certain meetings and projects and not inviting them to social gatherings with co-workers are all things bosses report doing to try and let employees know they would be best served working somewhere else.
For those employees who do think their boss isn't very happy with them, Haefner offers several tips to help repair the relationship, including:
- Recommit to performance: Employees should identify areas they can improve immediately and display their commitment to the company's objectives. More than 60 percent of managers say the best thing a worker can do after a falling-out with the boss is to simply improve the quality of work. In most cases, the negative attitudes will be history.
- Don't hold a grudge or gossip: Nearly 60 percent of managers think one's ability to "move forward and not hold a grudge" is important to repairing working relationships. This is a two-way street, of course, but workers who are able to display professionalism in spite of personal differences will be in a better position to navigate office politics. Similarly, 38 percent of managers say simply not discussing the falling-out with other colleagues is a smart way to repair a relationship.
- Rewrite the terms: Employees who sense their manager is pushing them away must take pre-emptive action by presenting ideas that may improve the working relationship. Workers have the right to clear expectations of their roles and responsibilities. A conversation that redefines or clarifies those expectations is sometimes necessary.
The study was based on surveys of 2,184 U.S.-based hiring managers and human resource professionals.