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Lead Your Team Managing

What's the Worst Quality in a Boss?

inner office relationships, bad bosses . / Credit: Hate Boss art via Shutterstock

The worst quality in a boss is arrogance, employees say. Good bosses, on the other hand, are deemed trustworthy.

That's the finding of a new study that examines the defining characteristics of employees' best and worst bosses. The study also found that bad leaders are most often described as arrogant.

Other qualities that lead to a worker's dislike of their supervisor are being manipulative, emotionally volatile, micromanaging, passive-aggressive and distrustful of others.

The average employee would be willing to return to work with fewer than half of their former bosses, the study showed.

Great bosses, conversely, were most often described as trustworthy, responsible, inspirational and tactful, with the ability to remain calm under pressure.

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With past research showing more than half of leaders will fail, Natalie Tracy, director of marketing for Hogan Assessment Systems, which conducted the research, said it's important to understand what makes employees love or despise their managers.

"Poor leadership causes reduced engagement, increased turnover and even poor health among employees," Tracy said. "With a better understanding of what separates good leaders from bad, organizations can take a closer look at who is in charge."

Regardless of who is in charge, the study discovered that employees find it important to like their boss and consider it just as essential that their boss likes them.

The study by personality research and leadership development firm Hogan Assessment Systems was based on surveys of 1,000 employees.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.