Can Employees and Their Bosses Really Get Along?

In honor of National Boss Day, employees and their bosses open up about life in the workplace -- the good, the bad and the ugly.

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It's on: A new survey on employee-boss relations, in honor of National Boss Day, paint some striking similarities to the cult classic Office Space.My first boss spoiled me. He was smart, nurturing and challenged me to venture out of my comfort zone. Then he was promoted and replaced by someone who was so awful that years later I got a letter from him apologizing for what a jerk he had been.

My guess is that most bosses would consider themselves good bosses -- some might even proclaim to be great. But is that just their opinion or would their employees agree? And what makes a great boss anyway?

In honor of National Boss Day on Oct. 16, HR solutions provider Adecco Staffing surveyed 1,000 U.S. employees and bosses to answer that question. Here's a look at what they said.

Dream on. Asked who they'd chose as their ideal boss, 37 percent chose Oprah Winfrey and 35 percent picked President Obama.

Nightmare boss. Who don't employees want to work for? At the bottom of the "boss list" were former American Idol judge Simon Cowell, with just 8 percent of the votes, and former BP CEO Tony Hayward, earning a mere 4 percent of the votes.

You're not the boss of me. Oh wait, you are. Most of us seek bosses who are true team players -- 88 percent of employees say a good boss is one who is willing to roll up his or her sleeves and get the job done. But while employees dream about bosses who are visionary coaches, offering clear goals for the future and giving them the motivation and tools to get there, many bosses are too, well, bossy.

Employees said their bosses are too "commanding" and tend to order them around. While just 15 percent of bosses saw themselves as "commanding," 23 percent of employees saw their bosses that way. And while 29 percent of bosses think they are great coaches, only 20 percent of employees agree.

Don't look back. Something may be gaining on you. Something that may not concern you as a business owner, but that's interesting nonetheless. While 30 percent of employees have absolutely no interest in replacing their boss, nearly half (45 percent) of Millennials hope to have their big job someday.

Confirm or ignore? Should bosses and employees be friends? Yes, just not on Facebook. Although 61 percent of employees think of their boss as a friend, 82 percent aren't connected with their boss on a social networking site like LinkedIn or Facebook. Of those employees who are connected, 32 percent wish they weren't -- and almost half (45 percent) have tweaked their privacy settings to hide parts of their profile from the boss. What are they hiding? Thirty-five percent don't want you to see their opinions (comments or posts), while 27 percent are hiding their photos and videos.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Ninety-one percent of employees say there is mutual respect between them and their bosses, and 86 percent of employees actually trust their bosses. However, a respect gap emerges as bosses get younger and employees get older. While 83 percent of employees say they could respect a boss who is five years younger, that number drops to 68 percent if the boss is 10 years younger, and to 56 percent if the boss is 20 years younger. Still, more than half (55 percent) of employees said no amount of age difference would keep them from respecting their bosses.

Stress cases. It's no surprise that 63 percent of bosses are more stressed today than they were three years ago, pre-recession. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of bosses who manage 11 or more people say they're more stressed now, compared to only 57 percent of bosses who manage 10 or fewer employees. In general, white-collar bosses are more stressed than blue-collar bosses (67 percent versus 59 percent).

Bonding moment. Whether you're a boss or an employee, the recession has forged new bonds. Seventy-eight percent of bosses in the survey say they feel closer to their teams than they did pre-recession, and 61 percent of employees agree. I'm not surprised -- it's long been known that being in combat together brings soldiers closer, and for most businesspeople, the past few years have been one heck of a battle.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports.

Tags: Adecco, Adecco survey, best bosses, bosses, Business Trends, HR, management, managing, managing employees, National Boss Day, Oprah, President Obama, Rieva Lesonsky, Simon Cowell, Tony Hayward, worst bosses

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