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OWNER'S MANUAL

8 Most Common Complaints About the Boss

What are you doing that really drives your employees crazy? You might want to give this list a close read.
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Two facts of professional life:

  1. Every employee has a boss, and
  2. Every employee has at least one complaint about his or her boss, including, unfortunately, you.

So I asked Jim Hessler and Steve Motenko, leadership coaches and hosts of The Boss Show (a podcast "for anyone who is or has a boss") to list the most common complaints employees have about their bosses.

Why these guys? Their list is based on thousands of confidential discussions with employees and bosses. They hear things your employees will never tell you.

The good news? Their list contains no real surprises.

The bad news? Their list contains no real surprises--meaning, most employees have the same issues with their bosses.

The great news? If you deal with the issues below, you'll immediately stand out as a great boss--and your business will be seen as a much better place to work.

Here's the list. My boss:

  1. Micromanages me
  2. Doesn't listen
  3. Doesn't want to have his/her opinions and ideas challenged
  4. Doesn't follow through on promises
  5. Assigns deadlines without considering what's on my plate
  6. Doesn't have time for me
  7. Doesn't give helpful feedback about my performance
  8. Is disorganized and reactive

"It's remarkable how many of the issues that come up on the show, including guest interviews," Hessler says, "end up with us asking same question: 'So, have you talked about this issue with your boss/employee?' We are continually amazed how many important things don't get talked about in the workplace."

According to Hessler, The Boss Show provides a constant reminder that even in a hierarchical relationship, leadership is a two-way street. Rather than regarding disgruntled workers as "victims" of their bosses' incompetence or disengagement, he and Motenko often highlight the employee's responsibility for making things better.

"Ranking on the lower level of the professional totem pole seems to make a lot of people passive," Motenko says, "or perhaps they are there because they are passive."

So what can you do? Take a look at the list. Take a hard look at the list. How many items apply to you--even if not consistently but only occasionally?

Then get to work. If you believe your employees are your most important assets--and you should--start treating them with the consideration and respect they deserve.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Mar 14, 2013

JEFF HADEN | Columnist

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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