Half of Us Have Had 'Horrible Bosses': How to Handle Them

Half of Americans have bad bosses
Half of Americans have bad bosses

Most Americans might not plot to kill their supervisors like the employees do in the new Jennifer Aniston movie Horrible Bosses (opening Friday), but nearly half have reason to scream bloody murder, a new survey says.

A whopping 46% of workers have toiled under an "unreasonable boss" according to an OfficeTeam staffing poll. Of the 441 respondents, 35% said they stayed at first to deal with the issue, while 11% quit immediately.

Apparently the majority of American workers are fearful of confronting their bosses -- or getting fired. Despite the negative situation, 59% continued in their position under the same supervisor.

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A study that highlights our dissatisfaction with the people who sign our checks doesn't exactly come as news, but the high rate is worth noting. Where are all the superior superiors? Bosses were once underlings, too. Didn't they learn anything on the way up?

"Bad bosses aren't necessarily bad people, but they certainly can make work challenging for those who report to them," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Often, individuals are promoted because they excel in a given job, but that doesn't mean they have the skills to be effective leaders."

OfficeTeam identified five types of mis-managers and brief coping strategies for each:

The helicopter boss who hovers to make sure you're doing your work. Build trust, OfficeTeam recommends, by meeting deadlines and keeping your supervisor in the loop.

The boss who gives you no direction. Point out in a gentle way that you need some details to complete the task to your boss's specs.

The boss who strong-arms you to do it his way. Plead your case in a calm way. Sometimes the voice of reason resonates, even with bullies.

The boss who takes credit for your work. Do what you can to make sure your contributions are apparent to other managers, and document your communication with the boss.

The boss whose personality swings make Sybil look stable.
You're a pal one minute, a scapegoat in gray flannel the next. Don't take it personally, and try to keep your communication with this boss to the work issue at hand.

In Horrible Bosses, Aniston, Colin Farrell and Kevin Spacey play the honchos from hell who torment Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day. We haven't seen the movie yet, but we're guessing the recommended "voice of reason" method didn't work so well for them.

Gallery: Your Stories of Bosses and Co-Workers from Hell

Bosses from Hell
Bosses from Hell