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What Grade Would You Give Your Boss?

When you were in school, did you ever wish you could turn the tables and give your teacher a grade? Well, workers got the chance to grade their bosses in a new survey from, and most believe their managers are doing a decent job.

According to the study, 69 per cent of workers say their manager deserves an “A” or a “B,” while only 9 per cent would assign a “D” or “F.” “Managers are often the ones assessing employee performance, but it’s just as important for managers to solicit regular feedback from employees regarding their own performance,” said Mark Bania, managing director of CareerBuilder Canada.

Better than the boss?

Managers are there to serve as mentors and to help their team members learn and grow as professionals. Yet some Canadian workers think they should be the ones filling their boss’s shoes. According to the survey, 19 per cent of employees believe they could do their boss’s job better. Other workers just don’t think their boss is cut out to be one – 22 per cent thought that their boss should not be in a leadership role.

Areas for improvement

Even if workers aren’t ready to take over their boss’s job, they’re still able to assess what areas of their leadership and management style could use some improvement. Communication style (52 per cent) was named most by workers who graded their bosses at “C,” followed by recognition of employees’ good work (47 per cent), attitude toward employees (46 per cent), and fairness/equity in treatment of employees (44 per cent).

A-plus efforts

Workers didn’t just have criticism for their bosses – they can just as easily recognize the areas where their managers excel. When asked to name their boss’s greatest strengths, employees who gave their bosses a grade of “B” or higher said attitude toward employees most often (61 per cent).

Other responses included:

  • Fairness/equity in treatment of employees: 55 per cent
  • Recognition of employees’ good work: 53 per cent
  • Professionalism in work environment: 53 percent
  • Competence/expertise: 51 per cent
  • Communication style: 49 per cent
  • Availability to employees: 46 per cent
  • Ability to take constructive feedback: 43 per cent
  • Standing up for the department to senior management: 26 per cent

Building on your relationship with your boss

If workers don’t see their boss as a leader, it can be hard to listen and take their advice or direction. Yet not respecting a boss won’t get you their job; if you want to be a manager one day, you need to be able to work with all types of personalities and management styles. You can always learn from a boss – no matter if they deserve an A or an F.

And if you do have feedback, don’t be afraid to share it – in a constructive way. Frame the conversation around how you can be of more help to your boss, and, in a professional manner, provide suggestions about how you could potentially work together better.

“The best managers make an effort to understand what their employees need from them in order to their jobs better and work to eliminate any obstacles that may be getting in the way of employees’ success,” Bania says.

Debra Auerbach researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder.

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