On the bookshelves of most bosses are books by or about great leaders and notable minds like President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jeffrey Sachs and Sam Walton. Managers and supervisors want to emulate the qualities that made these people revered figures. Decisiveness. Innovation. Passion.
Many bosses are falling short, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey. Thirty-one percent of workers in the survey said they could do their bosses’ job better, and 60 percent of workers said their bosses couldn’t successfully perform their jobs. Not exactly the stuff of great biographies.
The survey gave workers a chance to compare their bosses to some of TV’s famous bosses. The top 10 answers suggest an average workday is more like a blooper reel than a prime-time show.
According to workers, these are the 10 TV bosses their bosses resemble:
- Jacob from “Lost”: You’re never really sure where he is, what he wants and what he has in store for you. *
- Judge Judy from “Judge Judy”: No-nonsense and fair when making decisions.
- MacGyver from “MacGyver”: Resourceful and can fix any situation.
- Jack Donaghy from “30 Rock”: Likeable and a corporate guy, through and through.
- Oprah Winfrey from “Oprah”: Very influential and informative.
- Simon Cowell from “American Idol”: Judgmental and insulting.
- MacGruber from “Saturday Night Live”: Terrible with managing projects and deadlines, causing everything to blow up around him.
- Michael Scott from “The Office”: Bumbling and idiotic.
- Leslie Knope from “Parks and Recreation”: Believes her job is more important than it probably is.
- Donald Trump from “The Apprentice”: Demanding and powerful.
All’s not lost, as some of these responses aren’t so great, but others are admirable. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to work for Oprah? She takes her staff on vacation, gives away free cars and likes to talk about a good book.
In fact, the survey proves that employees have favorable opinions about certain qualities of their bosses. When it comes to being flexible, 72 percent of workers say their bosses do a good job. Flexibility includes being open to different work arrangements (flex schedules or working from home), taking time to listen and providing resources. Other positive feedback for bosses includes the 69 percent who say their bosses listen to their ideas and concerns. Also, 68 percent say their bosses provide them with the resources needed to do their job effectively.
If the survey can teach us one thing, it seems to be that many bosses are good people. Workers say that their voices are heard and that they have support. These bosses might not be the best leaders, but hopefully better communication can fix that. If your boss is perplexing like Jacob or a lackluster organizer like MacGruber, you can try to be open about your needs. Although you can’t change a person overnight, letting your boss know what you need to do your job well can help him or her become a better manager. Both you and your boss want you to do a good job, so everyone wins.
So how about your boss? Let us know what TV character your boss – past or present – reminds you of. Have you ever had a Basil Fawlty or a Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson signing your paychecks? Let us know.
(*Breathe a sigh of relief, bosses: At least it’s not The Man in Black, who was a shape-shifting smoke monster, because there’s really no good way to interpret that one.)