The biggest complaint most workers have about their jobs is a bad boss. Managers with bad boss energy confuse their subordinates, gaslight employees, email before thinking and manage down. According to neuropsychologist, Dr. Julia DiGangi, author of Energy Rising: The Neuroscience of Leading with Emotional Power, you know you’re dealing with bad boss energy when interactions with your manager make your heart pound, jaw clench or bring up feelings of dread and anxiety. Would you put your manager on “The Most Annoying List” or “The Greatest of All Time List?”

How To Spot An Annoying Manager

If you think you’re the only employee in the workplace with an infuriating manager, you’re not alone. According to a ResumeHelp August 2023 survey, 84% of respondents said their managers exhibit annoying behaviors and more than seven in 10 respondents (74%) have considered leaving the team or company because of it. Only five percent of workers say their managers never annoy them, and 82% admit that they gossip about a manager’s annoying behaviors that have an impact on team morale. Other highlights from the study include the following:

  • 32% say they experience managers’ annoying behaviors every day or several times a week.
  • 82% reported a negative impact on team morale, and 74% observed a negative impact on team productivity due to their manager’s conduct.
  • 72% believe the manager’s annoying behaviors contribute to conflicts or tension within the team.
  • 87% of workers say they have discussed the annoying behaviors with their managers, and 62% report that the issue was resolved while 25% say the issue wasn’t resolved.

Eight Top Behaviors That Put Managers On The Most Annoying List:

  1. Lying about job-related issues
  2. Showing favoritism or treating employees differently
  3. Making decisions without considering input from their team
  4. Overloading team members with unrealistic workloads and deadlines
  5. Failing to provide opportunities for professional growth and development
  6. Taking credit for someone else’s work
  7. Ignoring or dismissing suggestions for improvement from their team
  8. Dumping their work on other employees

How to Spot A Great Manager

We hear people say that great managers are few and far between. But are they? A survey by Zety, “What Makes a Good Manager,” asked 1,016 Americans to pinpoint the skills, behaviors and characteristics of great managers. They asked respondents about their expectations and day-to-day reality to see what works, what doesn’t and what they really think of the managers they work with on a daily basis. Over 70% of respondents admit they work with good managers, and the largest number of great managers work in the biggest companies, as over 36% of respondents who work for organizations employing 1,000-plus people believe their manager is doing a fantastic job related to five factors.

  • Feedback. The study asked what kind of feedback employees want to hear from a great manager. It turns out that 51% would like to receive both positive and negative feedback as long as it’s constructive. About 46% prefer positive feedback only (constructive as well as praise). The final three percent would like the manager to focus on the negative. Perhaps the so-called feedback sandwich isn’t ideal, but being a good manager definitely requires giving balanced opinions on employees’ work.
  • Management Style. Respondents were asked what great managers should focus on when leading their team: Correcting the team members’ weaknesses? or Making the most of the team members’ strengths? Over 77% believe great managers should pick strengths. Female respondents want their managers to focus on their strengths more than men. And 77% say managers should focus on strengths, but 65% say their manager does that.
  • Micromanagement. Respondents were asked to what extent they agreed that a great manager should always get involved in the details of every problem the team was facing. A surprising total of over 50% expect their manager to be hands-on. But the results also revealed people tend to agree less the longer they worked. About 56% of those with 20+ years of experience disagreed that a manager should be getting personally involved in all the small things the team has to cope with but only about 20% of those with less than five years of experience shared this viewpoint. A whopping85% feel good about the level of autonomy they’re getting from their managers.
  • Personal Connection. Almost 65% of respondents believe a great manager should care about them on a personal level. The larger the company, the more important it is for managers to care about employees on a personal level. The older the employee the less they required the manager to attend to personal matters. And more than 75% of respondents stated that their manager was mindful of their work-life balance. Managers working in larger companies seem to care more about their team members’ work-life balance and workload.
  • Clear Communication. Over 90% of respondents agreed that a great manager should value their opinion even if it differed from the manager’s own. This belief became increasingly important as employees become more and more experienced. And 77% of respondents stated their managers appreciated their input. Over 85% of respondents admitted that good managers should spend as much time as necessary to clearly communicate individual and team objectives even if the time spent explaining bled into their own managerial work.  

Employees who strongly agreed that their manager appreciated their opinions were also the most likely to consider their manager great. The four best predictors for what makes a great manager, according to the respondents, are:

  1. Appreciates my opinions and takes them into consideration when making decisions.
  2. Gives the right feedback.
  3. Gives me the right amount of autonomy.
  4. Is mindful of my workload and work-life balance. 

Nine Top Behaviors That Put Managers On The GOAT List:

  • Listens to their team members’ voices and factors them into his or her decisions
  • Gives meaningful and balanced feedback
  • Makes sure team members have enough autonomy to make decisions
  • Cares about their subordinates’ work-life balance
  • Is honest and trustworthy
  • Has a positive attitude and a good sense of humor
  • Supports the team members and has their back
  • Has a clear vision for the team
  • Is confident, displays strong leadership, interpersonal and decision-making skills


  • Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Journalist, psychotherapist, and Author of 40 books.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist in private practice, and award-winning author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. His latest books are CHAINED TO THE DESK IN A HYBRID WORLD: A GUIDE TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE (New York University Press, 2023)#CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE (William Morrow, 2019), DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE: 365 MEDITATIONS & INSPIRATIONS FOR WRITERS (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a regular contributor to, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. He has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, ABC's World News Tonight, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News and he hosted the PBS documentary "Overdoing It: How To Slow Down And Take Care Of Yourself." website: