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by Sara Korolevich | April 26, 2022


GoodHire, a leader in background check technology, recently released a new report on the sometimes toxic manager-employee relationship. GoodHire surveyed 3,000 full-time workers—an equal number from 10 of the most popular job sectors in America—to better understand the manager-employee relationship, what employees want from their managers, and what toxic traits managers should try to avoid at all costs. 

Below, we dive into the data to answer the question, “Do employees quit their jobs or do they actually quit their bosses?”

What Managers Need to Know

With a record number of workers quitting their jobs in the past year, GoodHire set out to understand the reasons that so many people are heading for the exits at work. And of the major reasons that many people quit, one stood out from the rest: management. 

In fact, the survey revealed a few very telling points about the state of management in 2022. First, 82 percent of American workers said they would potentially quit their jobs due to a bad manager. Additionally, 83 percent of American workers said they could do their own jobs without their managers, while 84 percent said they could do their manager’s job.

In other words, the relationship between employees and managers is, at best, less than ideal and, at worst, toxic and likely linked to numerous resignations. Add to that the fact that employees are eager to avoid returning to the office (and eager to continue to work in their sweatpants from home), and there are some extremely serious issues brewing in workplaces nationwide.

Digging deeper into the results, we found that employees are on a constant search for managers with two key traits: honesty and authenticity. Employees want to know where they stand at their companies, what opportunities they can look forward to, and what they can do to earn more money and advance. American workers surveyed also told us that they are most annoyed by managers who micromanage and do not respect employee time outside of working hours. 

All in all, it’s hugely important that managers remain honest and authentic while providing employees with autonomy and a release from work when the day is done. 

What Employees Need to Know

The data is in, and it’s clear that the manager-employee relationship is not as solid as it needs to be. So, what can employees, specifically those younger ones who are the future of work, learn from this data?

For one, it’s hugely important that employees realize that their managers will never be perfect. The most basic premise that many people struggle with when it comes to their managers is that their managers (their bosses) can tell them what to do. Authority is a tough thing for many people to deal with, but when handled correctly by management, the boss-employee relationship doesn't have to be difficult.

And so, employees need to approach each interaction with their managers with an open mind and try to find a communication style that works best for them. If they like daily meetings, then ensure more of those happen. If they like to meet via phone rather than Zoom, then work hard to schedule those interactions with managers. The goal for each employee should be to eliminate the things that bother them most about their managers—to the best of their ability. 

Of course, some interactions might be annoying or uncomfortable—that’s just a part of being an employee—but understanding how to minimize the issues you have with your manager is a huge step toward improving that relationship. 

What Job Seekers Need to Know

If you’re a job seeker and looking for takeaways from all this data, you should first and foremost make sure you don’t simply search for a “job.” Instead, work hard to understand the responsibilities you’ll have in a new role, and to understand who you’ll be working with each and every day. If you get a bad read from your potential future manager, then be sure to look into that further—don’t just accept a job blindly because of the pay or other perks.

In addition, interview your potential manager, and interview those who might become your coworkers. These people know what it’s like to work at the company and for your potential manager, and all of these employees can be great resources as you work to uncover what life might be like at a new job. 

All in all, make sure to find people you enjoy working with, as that could be the ultimate key to workplace happiness and success.

Sara Korolevich is Director of Content at GoodHire. GoodHire is a company that provides a flexible and efficient solution to complex background checks.