National Bosses Day: Time to Suck Up

bosses day


If you work for Oprah Winfrey or President Obama, consider yourself lucky. The two leaders -- one of daytime talk TV and the other of the free world -- are at the top of the list of most desired bosses, according to a survey by Adecco North America, a worker recruitment company.

The survey of 1,000 employees and their bosses looked at what makes a great boss, something you could chat about at lunch if you're planning to take your boss out on Friday, Oct. 15, which is National Boss Day. The day is normally Oct. 16, but since that's a Saturday this year, it's being celebrated on the closest working day. The day of recognition was started in 1958 as a way to improve the relationship between employees and supervisors, show appreciation for bosses, and to help young employees realize the challenges bosses face.

In the Adecco survey, Winfrey led the list of leaders or bosses that people would most like to have as a boss with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Obama at 35 percent. The other top bosses were:

  • Donald Trump: 28 percent
  • Michelle Obama: 26 percent
  • Former President George W. Bush: 19 percent
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger: 16 percent
  • Sarah Palin: 15 percent
  • Martha Stewart: 14 percent
  • Jack Welch, former CEO of GE: 12 percent
  • Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook: 9 percent
  • Joe Torre: 9 percent
  • Simon Cowell: 8 percent
  • Tony Hayward, former CEO of BP: 4 percent

Here are some other notable findings from the survey:

Those most likely to gun for their boss's job

The youngest employees are ambitious and are looking to get ahead, and will go to great lengths to do it. Forty-two percent of Millennials think they're smarter than their boss and nearly half (45 percent) aspire to have their boss's job.

But not all workers are even interested in the top job – only 30 percent of employees indicated they aspire to have their boss's job. Contrary to popular perception, employees who have more responsibility outside of the office – those with children younger than18 at home – are more likely to aspire to have their boss's job (39 percent compared to 23 percent).

You can't always get what you want

Employee respondents indicated they want visionary and coaching bosses – leaders who will guide them with clear goals for the future and provide them with the motivation and the tools to get there. Instead, survey results indicate that many bosses are still too commanding in their management style, exhibited by simply giving orders and accepting compliance.

Bosses, however, don't see this trend in themselves; while nearly one-third (29 percent) of bosses think they are great coaches, only a fifth (20 percent) of employees agree. Similarly, only 15 percent of bosses think their management style is "commanding," but nearly a quarter (23 percent) of employees said their boss exhibited this style most. This difference could mean that bosses may not realize just how "bossy" they really are.

Survey respondents also valued bosses who are true team players – with 88 percent of employees agreeing that a good boss is one who is willing to roll up their sleeves and get the job done.

"Hanky panky" OK to get ahead

Nearly one in five (17 percent) of employees would have an office fling with their boss if they thought it would help them advance their career.

But that doesn't mean they want to share photos of themselves. When connecting on the Internet, workers are less enthused about sharing photos of themselves with their bosses. More than one third (35 percent) of male workers are worried about their boss seeing their photos online, compared to only 20 percent of women. Half of all women connected to their bosses online, such as through Facebook, LinkedIn or other websites, are more likely to adjust their privacy settings compared to men (40 percent).

Facebook time

A majority (82 percent) of employees are not connected to the boss via a social network. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of employees who are connected to their boss via a social network site wish they weren't.

To keep some boundaries between their work and social life, 45 percent of the employees that added their boss to a social site adjusted their privacy settings to keep certain aspects of their profile blocked. Over twice as many employees connect with the boss on Facebook (14 percent) as opposed to LinkedIn (6 percent). Even less than that connect with their boss on Twitter (4 percent) and Foursquare (2 percent).

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