Market Overview

The Predictive Index 2018 People Management Survey of 5,000+ Workers Reveal Traits of Great Managers (and Bad Bosses)

  • 77 percent of survey respondents with bad managers plan to jump ship
  • 94 percent of employees with great bosses are passionate about their jobs
  • Men and women match up evenly as managers
  • Full results available in free, downloadable report

WESTWOOD, Mass., Aug. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Predictive Index, LLC today released the results of a survey of workers exploring the traits of good, great and bad managers. The Predictive Index 2018 People Management Survey collected responses from 5,104 workers—the largest-ever survey of its kind. Respondents represented 22 industries, and they revealed traits of managers by generation, gender and industry. To read the full report, visit

The Predictive Index survey concludes that bad managers tend to lack traits associated with self-awareness or emotional intelligence. For example, they play favorites (57 percent), badmouth colleagues (54 percent), and they are keenly interested in proving themselves right (52 percent). The most frequently cited trait of poor managers is failing to set clear expectations (58 percent).

At the other end of the continuum, great managers are reported to have a strong work ethic (82 percent), be honest (80 percent), and be confident (79 percent). A sense of humor is important (79 percent) and a similar percentage of great managers are viewed as having a positive attitude.

"Great people managers are at the heart of any businesses talent strategy," said Mike Zani, CEO of The Predictive Index. "That's why we wanted to gain insights about the managers who inspire employees and, conversely, push their best employees away. Engaged workers are every businesses' most important asset. Knowing what those people want in a manager makes work better for everyone."

Additional Survey Highlights

More interesting findings are below.

Manager quality directly impacts employee engagement.

  • 94 percent of employees with good or great bosses say they have passion and energy for their jobs.
  • 41 percent of respondents with bad managers report little passion and energy for their work.
  • 77 of people working for bad bosses say they want to look for work at another organization in the next 12 months.

Millennials score slightly better as people managers than other generations.

  • Managers who are 24 to 41 years old are often maligned for their management skills, but they earn slightly higher ratings from the people they manage than Generation X and Baby Boomer bosses.
  • There is no clear preference among generations for reporting to other generations. For example, Baby Boomers reporting to Millennials gave them an average rating that is marginally higher than the rating they gave to other Boomers.

Women and men match up evenly as managers.

  • Employees ranked male and female managers virtually equally (average rating of 7.3 for women, as compared to 7.2 for men), although women were more likely than men to receive the top rating, a 10, from employees.
  • The top three traits for female bosses are strong work ethic, sense of humor, and knowledge of the area she manages.
  • The top three traits for male managers are sense of humor, strong work ethic, and confidence.

Feedback is critically important.

  • Employees who think their bosses give just the right amount of feedback give those managers high ratings (8.6 on average).
  • Workers would rather have too much feedback, rather than too little. People who say they get no feedback rate their managers poorly (4.2 on average).
  • Bosses know feedback matters to employees: the thing most often cited as top of mind for them is their ability to provide feedback.

Predictive Index Inspire Tools Help People Manage Better

With the release of The Predictive Index's Inspire tools, managers achieve greater self-awareness and selflessness—the hallmarks of great leadership. Inspire enables managers to tailor their management style based on their behavioral drives and needs and those of their teams, and it provides actionable team insight and tools for understanding 1:1 relationships. When combined with The Predictive Index's popular Managing People to Perform workshop, organizations can build, measure, and accelerate high-performing teams.

Survey Methodology

The Predictive Index created the survey instrument and opened the survey to respondents in June 2018. It included three major sections asking respondents questions about their work experience, asking them to select words and phrases that described their manager from a list of 105 unique traits, and asking about respondents' and managers' demographics. From the original pool of 5,103 respondents, The Predictive Index excluded 767 partial responses and 95 invalid responses. The final sample included 4,273 respondents from 22 industries. The report assesses how the respondent pool stacked up against the overall mix of workers in the US economy as reported by the US Department of Labor (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program, 2016 analysis).

Industries represented include agriculture, construction, education, finance, government, healthcare and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, professional and business services, retail, technology, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade.

About The Predictive Index

The Predictive Index gives companies a solution that allows them to develop and execute people strategies that support their business strategies. PI provides a framework, training and software to assess jobs, hire the best people, understand what drives their behavior at work, and keep them inspired. Learn how we empower managers at more than 6,500 organizations to cultivate an engaged, productive workforce at

Nicky Enberg Vaz

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