HR Insights 1 min

Bad Boss Index: Are Men and Women Managed Differently?

September 7, 2017

At the risk of coming across like I’m mansplaining something, let’s briefly talk about gender issues.

As we discovered last year, there is a gender gap in rewards and recognition programs. Now, it turns out a similar divide exists when it comes to how men and women view their relationships with their bosses.

At least that’s what we recently found when we asked more than 1,000 US-based employees to rate 24 typical boss behaviors from “totally acceptable” to “deal breaker that would make you want to quit.”


Learn how to help your employees feel more valued at work.

Below you’ll see the percentages of respondents who rated the behaviors as “not at all acceptable” or a “deal breaker that would make them want to quit.” The differences between how men and women view some of these boss behaviors are surprising.

      – Your boss focuses more on your weaknesses than your strengths

                  – Women: 61 percent

                  – Men: 43 percent

      – Your boss doesn’t appear to care if you are overworked

                  – Women: 66 percent

                  – Men: 49 percent

      – Your boss takes credit for your work

                  – Women: 71 percent

                  – Men: 55 percent

      – Your boss hires and/or promotes the wrong people

                  – Women: 64 percent

                  – Men: 48 percent

      – Your boss doesn’t appear to trust or empower you

                  – Women: 70 percent

                  – Men: 54 percent]

While our data didn’t explore how often employees had experienced these boss behaviors, it’s worth asking if women generally rate them as more negative because they have experienced them firsthand. Either way, the results are troubling.


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Now consider that there is a precedent for women leaving a job because of bosses who went too far. While the same amount of men and women have left a job due to poor management, 31 percent of women, compared to just 20 percent of men, said they had quit a job because of a boss’ “inappropriate” behavior.

On the other side of the coin, only five behaviors were rated unacceptable by more men than women.

      – Refuses to friend you on social media

      – Doesn’t like to spend time together outside of work

      – Pushes you outside your comfort zone with new tasks and assignments

      – Requires you to take personal days for mental well-being

      – Publicly recognizes your contributions in front of upper management

It appears men are more likely to seek friendship with their bosses while women seem more concerned with fair treatment. Again, our survey results alone aren’t enough to show that women and men are often treated differently by their bosses. But understanding how men and women view management behaviors differently is vital to creating a safe, productive workplace for everyone.

What are you doing to make sure you have full equality in your organization?

To see the full Bad Boss Index, download it here now!

Men and women view bad bass behavior differently. Does this mean they’re *treated* differently?

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Bryson Kearl

Bryson Kearl is an HR content creator at BambooHR. His role enables him to study HR's impact on organizations, and he is a diehard believer in the vital role HR plays in building company culture to achieve overarching business objectives.