There are a lot of reasons to hate a job: annoying co-workers; bad working conditions; long hours for too little pay; the stress level; and more.

But one of the worst things -- arguably the worst -- is having a bad boss.

When you don't feel seen, appreciated, or listened to by your direct manager, it can have a dramatic impact on not only your work performance, but also your sense of self-esteem. Over time, you can begin to feel anxious, worthless, and demoralized.

It's a game changer.

On the flip side, a new research report by employee happiness research firm TINYpulse looked at data from 400 workers. It showed that when you get one specific thing from your direct manager, you're 32 percent less likely to want to ditch your job. What is it?


Everyone wants to do well at work, and there's a direct correlation between how respected you feel by your boss, and how much you enjoy and excel professionally.

This is in part because when you don't feel respected by someone, you don't trust them. You don't trust that you'll be protected if something goes wrong, or seen for your contributions if something goes right. It's demotivating. When you do feel respected, on the other hand, you feel like you matter -- and by extension, that your work matters. 

This is meaningful beyond the obvious conclusion that having a good boss is good for employees. It's important because it suggests that if you're in a high-level role, you should put significant energy into determining whether your people feel respected. Who is a good manager and who isn't? A big metric for that is whether those working for that person feel respected.

The fact is, a lot of companies have performance reviews that are one-way -- managers to their reports. People are evaluated by those above them to gauge how good a job they're doing, and whether they deserve promotion.

Fine, but if the manager-employee relationship is so critical to employee happiness and retention, shouldn't there be equally as comprehensive and important evaluations of managers themselves?

A bad manager can dramatically impact not only individuals, but entire departments. One need look no further than Susan Fowler at Uber to see a dramatic example of how one terrible manager can be not only a despicable person, but indicative of a toxic culture.

Another way of going about things is to flatten the traditional hierarchical structure and perpetuate a culture of cooperation rather than ladder-climbing. Blake Murray, CEO of Divvy, says, "We try to avoid terms like employees and workers altogether. We've found that treating team members, small and large, as if they are owners completely changes how they approach their work. The sense of pride, high standards and personal accountability that come with ownership mentality is felt throughout our entire organization."

The reason respect matters so much is that it's both hard to fake and easy to recognize. It's what you feel from someone over time -- the result of many small interactions, not just one or two large ones. It's your boss's timely response to you on an important email; the way you hear through the grapevine that your manager stuck up for you in a meeting you weren't in; the value your higher-ranking colleague gave to you in front of a client. It's a series of small moments that add up to a big outcome.

Respect: Give it, get it, make sure your people feel it.

You'll all thrive as a result.