Your Boss Asked You to Do What?!

HR & Safety

Workers grade their bosses, share most unusual boss requests

A bad boss is a classic cause of grief at the workplace, but just how common are they? According to a new CareerBuilder survey, a majority of workers think their boss is doing an above-average job.

Asked to evaluate their bosses’ performance, more than six in 10 (63%) U.S. workers say their manager deserves a grade of A or a B, while only one in 7 (14%) would assign a D or F.

Additionally, about four in ten workers (39%) say they are friends with their boss.

The nationwide survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from Feb. 10 to March 4, 2014, and included a representative sample of 3,022 full-time, private sector workers across industries and company sizes.

Making the Grade

A plurality of workers give their boss a grade of B, and about one in four assign a C:

A: 24%

B: 39%

C: 23%

D: 9%

F: 5%

Grades appear to be aligned with bosses’ communication and management styles. Workers who interact more frequently with their bosses tend to rate their performance better than those who keep their distance. Thirty-one percent of workers who interact several times a day in person with their boss assign them an A compared to just 17% of workers who interact with their boss once a day or less.

The study also showed a correlation between positive ratings of bosses and open communication even if that communication doesn’t take place in person. Twenty-five percent of workers say their boss typically communicates with them via text or instant message. Of those employees, 30% assign an A to their boss’s performance.

“Managers who interact frequently and communicate directly are more likely to have the support of their employees,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “The ideal form of that communication will vary from individual to individual, but everyone’s jobs get done better when expectations and roles are clearly defined. The best managers understand the triggers for their workers’ success and are able to course correct when productivity drops or conflict arises.”

Most Unusual Boss Requests

There is one way, however, bosses can quickly lose workers’ trust: giving tasks well outside the job description. Twenty-two percent of employees say their current boss asks them do things unrelated to their jobs, and unsurprisingly, 51% of those employees give their bosses grades of C or worse.

The following are real requests bosses asked of their employees, as shared by survey respondents.

  • Asked employee to coach other employees on how to pass a drug test
  • Asked employee to fire a colleague and then drive [the colleague] home
  • Asked for employee’s opinions of Tinder [dating app] profiles
  • Asked employee to order items on personal Amazon account so boss’s spouse wouldn’t know about it
  • Asked employee to pluck a client’s unibrow for a photo shoot
  • Asked that employees “Like” his Facebook videos
  • Asked if employee would be better friends with him
  • Asked employee to find out how to obtain death certificate for her deceased ex-husband
  • Asked employee to commiserate with daughter-in-law about the death of her cat
  • Asked employee to climb on roof to see if there were any dead birds

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