Hey bosses: Your employees think they can do a better job than you

Nearly 85 percent of Americans think they can outperform their manager, according to an international poll recently conducted by Monster.com.

This might mean a couple of things.

First, the assertion by an employee that he or she could do a better job managing the organization than whoever is currently boss could be symptomatic of plain old lack of respect. If this is the case, Monster career advice expert Mary Ellen Slayter said it might be time to make a change. "If you don't respect your boss, it's time to start exploring options for making a move. Perhaps you would like a lateral move, as you could be a valuable asset to another workplace, working under someone you find more inspiring. Or, if you're feeling ambitious, maybe it's time to start thinking about becoming the boss yourself," she said.

Respect is cyclical. Upon closer analysis, the lack of respect some employees may have for their boss may in fact be a reaction to a perceived lack of respect from their bosses. According to a survey by the Harvard Business Review, being treated with respect has a profound effect on employee performance. Respondents who reported feeling respected by their leaders reported 55 percent more engagement, 56 percent better health and well-being, 89 percent greater enjoyment and job satisfaction, 92 percent greater focus and prioritization and 1.26 times more meaning and significance in their work, according to the survey.

More than half of employees — 54 percent — reported they don't consistently get respect from their leaders. According to the Harvard Business Review, this can lead to less engagement, more turnover, less productivity and increased healthcare costs.

But believing you can outperform your boss isn't always a sign of trouble.

Alternatively, employees who reported believing they could do a better job than their managers may instead have a stronger desire for a more significant sense of leadership, personal investment in the success of the organization and, importantly, commitment. In short: These are the people bosses should want on their team.

In this case, CEOs, other C-suiters and managers shouldn't feel threatened by or condemn employees' assertions that they could do a better job in their role. Rather, bosses should encourage them. A strong sense of leadership and drive among employees is fundamental for growing a successful organization, for if these traits aren't embedded in the culture, there is no shared motivation to push the organization forward.

In a recent interview with Becker's Hospital Review, Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System in Philadelphia, shared his favorite piece of advice. One of his professors at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia told him, "You should always have five people under you who think they can do a better job than you, and three of them that are right."

"Too often in academic healthcare, leaders are threatened by people under them who have skill sets they don't," Dr. Klasko said. "I try to surround myself with incredibly smart people who I can learn from. At Jefferson, that exists all around me. I have at least five people who think they are smarter than me and at least three who are right."

Establishing an environment that values employees for the insight and guidance they lend their leaders is just as important as having leaders who can direct their workforce. It takes a great leader to realize this.

Specifically, within the healthcare world, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations to develop their physicians' ability to lead.

In an Oct. 29 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Select International, Sam Agnew, MD, president of Global Trauma Solutions, said, "All leaders need to be created over time, not just airdropped into your organization."

While grooming physicians to become "bosses" from within can be beneficial, creating a team of physician leaders (whether or not actually promoted to leadership title roles) can increase system-wide cohesion, shared drive, investment and commitment to the organization. Ultimately, this can result in better outcomes for patients.

So the key is this: If your employees think they can do a better job than you, their boss, don't fear. Hope they are right and make the most of their leadership.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars