Whatever you do, don’t be smarter than your boss

According to a recent study, the US workforce is more educated than ever, with 90 percent of Americans aged 25 and older having four years of high school or more.

The result?

Many employees feel more qualified than their superiors, which causes them to undermine their direct managers, submit formal complaints, and even seek alternative employment options.

So …

At ResumeLab, we decided to hear from 1,000 employees who of them feel more qualified than their boss and ask them if they’ve ever subverted their manager and what they would do differently if they were in charge.

Keep scrolling to see our findings.

So you think you’re smarter than your boss?

Based on our data, 21.7 percent of workers feel they are more qualified than their direct manager, with an eye-popping 61 percent of employed Americans convinced they could do their superior’s job.

There’s more …

When we threw under the microscope the responses of employees that work remotely, that number spiralled to nearly a third.

Perhaps, that stems from the fact that remote employees are removed from the often-noisy cubicle and endless back-to-back meetings, which helps with productivity.

Lastly, as we combed through our findings, a clear theme emerged.

We discovered that employees that work in higher-pressure work environments are 3.7 times as likely to feel more qualified than their manager, as opposed to those working in low-pressure workplaces.

What would you do if put in charge?

We all secretly believe we’re better than others. In fact, many think that, if put in charge, they could do a better job than the man in the arena.

Question is …

Is it just good old vanity and narcissism or rational observation?

It turns out that the core reasons employees believe they are more qualified than their superiors is due to their people skills and a better understanding of day-to-day responsibilities.

Other reasons include having more experience, having better workplace ideas, and having a better personality.

Now … the fun part.

We also asked the responders what they’d do if they were in charge. The top ten responses were as follows:

  1. Create goals for staffers;
  2. Up employee pay;
  3. Enhance team bonding;
  4. Zero in on improving office culture;
  5. Give direct reports bonuses;
  6. Upgrade workplace tech;
  7. Meet more often with employees;
  8. Hire new people;
  9. Lower micromanagement; and
  10. Reduce the number of meetings.

Going the extra mile (Over their head)

As many as 13 percent of US workers have admitted to subverting their manager, based on the ResumeLab findings.

That’s a staggering number, given that company positions are there for a reason, and undermining your boss is typically never a good idea.

That said, when we dove in to discover the driving forces behind employees going over their superior’s head, their motives were mostly positive.

In fact, over 42 percent of employees that subverted their manager did it to save time, while nearly 40 percent did so to help a peer.

Other reasons include getting one’s manager fired, letting one’s manager see the employee’s frustration, and helping the company.

Satisfaction and salary

Now … Let’s talk about job satisfaction and money.

Our survey found that employees who think they’re more qualified than their superiors are less likely to be satisfied at work.

Specifically, compared to 87.7 percent of employees who don’t think they’re more qualified, only 62.7 percent of those who say they are satisfied with their job.

As for compensation, we also found that employees that believe to be more qualified than their manager earn a higher average annual salary than workers who don’t think they are smarter than their boss ($50, 321 vs. $45, 278).

How do you really feel?

Would you ever tell your boss how you truly feel about them?

A whopping 55.7 percent said, “No.” That’s because a lack of satisfaction may not lead many to speak up.
That said, the negative feelings are there. In fact, 21 percent of employees describe their boss as a micromanager, and another 18 percent of workers feel their manager is never around.

But …

Regardless of airing out negative feelings, over three in four employees don’t plan to jump ship any time soon.

However, employees who believe themselves to be more qualified are significantly more likely to quit – of the 24.4 percent who planned to quit in the coming year, nearly 50 percent believed they were more qualified than their manager.

Pete Sosnowski is VP and Co-Founder at ResumeLab headquartered in Warsaw, Poland. With 7+ years of recruiting experience in top companies, Pete’s experience includes managing diversified teams and complex HR projects.

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