Here’s what South Africans hate about their bosses

14 October 2019 - 11:16 By Unathi Nkanjeni
The survey found that 12% of employees said they drink heavily because of their boss’s behaviour.
The survey found that 12% of employees said they drink heavily because of their boss’s behaviour.
Image: 123RF/kritchanut

Favouritism. Working overtime without pay. Denying wage increases. Declining leave days. Taking credit for work done by employees.

These are some of the things South African’s hate about their bosses, according to CareerJunction.

The research, which collected responses from more than 3,000 people, found that a third of employees who quit their jobs did so because of their bosses.

“While people want to be able to turn to their managers for help, guidance, career growth and motivation, it turns out many South Africans have unhealthy relationships with their bosses. This is having a detrimental effect on work morale and productivity as well as employees’ personal lives,” said the job portal.

Trust and approachability between bosses and employees were found to be the biggest obstacles and contributing factors towards many quitting their jobs.

According to CareerJunction, many said they don’t trust their boss and half said they feel confident about approaching their boss with work difficulties.

The worst behaviours of South African bosses showed:

  • The most unacceptable behaviour cited was managers who played favouritism — 44%
  • Requested that employees work overtime without pay — 35%
  • Denying a pay rise — 30%
  • Unexpectedly denied a workers' holiday/leave — 25%
  • Taking credit for work that was not their own — 13%.

CareerJunction said due to the toxic work environment, 27% of employees noted they have nightmares, 18% seek mental health support and 12% drink heavily because of their boss’s behaviour.

More than 50% of employees never want to socialise with their boss or invite them to personal events such as a wedding or birthday party.

Only 16% said they would classify their relationship with their boss as a friendship, with 11% describing their boss’s character as “awesome”.

When asked to rank the top five important practical things a manager could do to enable a good working relationship with employers, employees highlighted these solutions:

  • Provide clear performance/objective indicators
  • Provide specific feedback about my work
  • Create a learning/development programme
  • Have a clear job description
  • One-on-one meetings.

CareerJunction said it’s not all bad news for local managers.

“A serendipitous insight revealed by the survey was that managers can take solace in the fact that workers agreed that being a boss is stressful (73%) and also admitted their managers acknowledged their hard work as employees (61%).

“It remains a painful truth that managers need to up their game in terms of looking after their staff if they wish to retain them.”


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