More than 3 million Australians ‘dislike’ their boss: Research

The-Great-Resignation managers workers

Source: Unsplash/Laura Davidson.

Millions of Australian workers say they dislike their boss largely because they believe their leaders struggle with soft skills such as emotional intelligence, a study has revealed.

Conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Australian College of Applied Professions in October, the nationally representative survey found the return of staff to on-site work will be thwarted by concerns among 53% of workers about having to physically interact with their managers.

The independent survey of 1000 Australian workers found that 65% of workers said their manager struggles with soft skills.

Three in ten workers said they dislike their manager — which is the equivalent to 3.4 million working Australians.

The Australian College of Applied Professions found 39% of workers believe their managers lack emotional intelligence, with 34% saying they don’t communicate well, while 32% said their bosses micromanage them.

Moreover, the study found one in two Australian workers have been working from home throughout the pandemic, and they now have less tolerance for bad behaviour.

According to the study, 53% of workers are less inclined to accept rudeness, work politics and drama compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the study, Australian College of Applied Professions chief executive George Garrop said the ongoing shifts around remote working and employee burnout have taken a toll on workplaces.

“And also, evidently, on the relationships between workers and their managers” Garrop said.

According to Garrop, the findings reveal there is a lack of soft skills that is creating a gap in expectations between managers and their teams.

“As an organisation steeped in applied psychology, we understand that the ‘Great Realignment’ of workers’ expectations is natural given that many people have searched for new meaning in a changed world,” he said.

Importantly, age played into the expectations of workers, with millennials and Gen Z demanding higher levels of emotional intelligence from their managers.

“This survey tells us that younger workers are seeking employers that lead with empathy, emotional intelligence and positive human relationships,” Garrop said.

For Leading Teams director Daniel Healy, the idea that emotional intelligence is a soft skill is confusing, and encourages employers to discredit its importance.

“We use the language of mechanics and dynamics when it comes to describing soft skills,” Healy tells SmartCompany.

Founded in 2000, Leading Teams is a management and leadership consultancy that delivers programs to organisations nationally.

Its model, which was initially created for sport organisations, aims to foster high performing teams and strong workplace cultures that align with a company’s values.

Healy says while some leaders “have more natural tendencies towards a focus on people and emotions”, all leaders can improve those skills.

“It’s something that we can improve, if we value it and put time and effort into it,” he says.

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