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Jacob, Judge Judy Remind Workers of Bosses

By SHRM Online staff  9/14/2010
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The mysterious Jacob

Workers who think that their boss is a lot like Jacob from the TV show “Lost”—they’re never really sure where he is, what he wants and what he has in store for them—are not alone, according to survey findings released Sept. 9, 2010.

Asked which TV show boss most resembles their own supervisor, the top names that surfaced from an online survey of 4,498 full-time U.S. workers are:

  • Jacob.
  • Judge Judy of “The Judge Judy Show”—no nonsense and fair in making decisions.
  • MacGyver from the 1985-1992 show of the same name—resourceful and can fix any situation.
  • Jack Donaghy of “30 Rock”— likeable and a corporate guy to the end.
  • Oprah—highly influential and informative.
  • Simon Cowell, formerly of “American Idol”—judgmental and insulting.
  • MacGruber from “Saturday Night Live”—terrible at managing projects and deadlines, causing everything to blow up around him.
  • Michael Scott of “The Office”—bumbling and idiotic.
  • Leslie Knope of “Parks and Recreation”—believes her job is more important than it probably is.
  • Donald Trump from “The Apprentice”—demanding and powerful.

While 31 percent of employees think that they could do a better job than their boss, 60 percent don’t think their boss could do the employee’s job, CareerBuilder found in the survey, which was conducted in May and June 2010.

Bosses received a mixed report card: 72 percent of workers said their supervisor did a good job offering flexible work arrangements, 69 percent said their bosses listened to their ideas and concerns, and 68 percent said their bosses provided them with the resources they need to perform their jobs effectively.

On the flip side, 61 percent said their boss does a poor job grooming them for advancement, 45 percent said their boss does a poor job providing regular and consistent feedback, and 34 percent think that they could get better backup from their bosses.

“The workforce has been through a lot during this recession,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR at CareerBuilder, “so it’s important for workers and bosses to maintain a strong and communicative relationship.

“As many companies recover from the challenges of the last 18 months, both parties need to listen to each other and be flexible, with a common goal of moving the organization forward,” she said in a news statement.

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