Does Your Boss Have Your Back?

Nearly Half of Professionals Say Managers Take Credit for Their Work, According to Korn Ferry Survey 

-- Forty Percent Say they Could do Their Boss’s Job Better than the Boss, Yet Less Than a Third Would Want It – 

Editor’s Note: Survey Responses at End of News Release

Los Angeles, Oct. 14, 2019 – As the Oct. 16 “Boss’s Day” approaches in the United States, a new Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) survey shows that professionals may not believe their manager is helping them succeed.

More than half (58 percent) of those surveyed say their manager does not help them advance their career. Worse yet, nearly half (48 percent) say their boss has taken credit for something they’ve done, and 39 percent say that their boss at some point has “thrown them under the bus.”

Only 35 percent say they consider their boss as a friend.

“Many professionals have complicated relationships with their managers. While most are eager for their boss to help them learn and grow in their careers, the reality is many time-strapped and career-stressed bosses often don’t make the effort to nurture their direct reports,” said Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry’s global solution leader for leadership development.

While 65 percent of professionals say they do learn from their boss, more than half (56 percent) say that their boss motivates them to little or no extent.

“Communication gaps have been at the center of management and direct report disconnects since the beginning of time. Managers often feel they are communicating a great deal, and direct reports feel that they don’t have enough context or information,” said Baltzley. “It’s important to keep an open and continuous dialogue between managers and their direct reports so everyone understands priorities, what success looks like and how responsibilities are divided to achieve shared goals.”

While 40 percent of professionals think they could do their boss’s job better than the boss, only 32 percent would actually want the job.

“It’s also important that professionals understand that support from their boss is not the only path to success,” said Baltzley. “Researchers point to the 70-20-10 rule, where 70 percent of what you learn is from on-the-job experiences, 10 percent is from formal academic learning, and 20 percent is from relevant other people, such as a boss. It’s critical that professionals chart their own career.”

About the survey

There were 804 responses to the online executive survey, which took place in September 2019. Please note that due to rounding responses may not equal 100 percent.

Survey responses

Does your boss help advance your career?

Yes 42 percent
No 58 percent

Has your boss ever “thrown you under the bus?”

Yes 39 percent
No 61 percent

Has your boss ever taken credit for something you did?

Yes 48 percent
No 52 percent

Could you do your boss’s job better than him or her?

Yes 40 percent
No 60 percent

Do you want your boss’s job?

Yes 32 percent
No 68 percent

Do you consider your boss a friend?

Yes 35 percent
No 65 percent

Are you smarter than your boss?

Yes 25 percent
No 75 percent

To what extent do you agree that you learn from your boss?

To a great extent 16 percent
To some extent 49 percent
To little extent 23 percent
To no extent 12 percent

To what extent would you agree that your boss motivates you?

To a great extent 20 percent
To some extent 23 percent
To little extent 28 percent
To no extent 28 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with clients to design their organizational structures, roles and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward, develop and motivate their workforce. And, we help professionals navigate and advance their careers.

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