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Nearly Half of Professionals Say Managers Take Credit for Their Work

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A new Korn Ferry survey has shown 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

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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

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