Most workers reckon that their bosses are excessively bureaucratic, blame people wrongly and are inconsistent when it comes to making decisions, according to a damning report.
A survey by consultancy Sirota Survey Intelligence questioned 3.5 million staff over three years at a range of firms including Shell, Tesco, Microsoft and Dell.
What they found was an ingrained belief among employees that their managers, far from driving the business forward, actually hamper progress.
Workers have three basic desires, the survey concluded: to know what is expected of them, have competent bosses and better cooperation across the firm.
The biggest challenge for many companies was creating an enthusiastic workforce as this is the Holy Grail of getting a successful, productive organisation, it found.
Sirota chairman David Sirota said: "People come to work, to work. Unfortunately, they often find conditions that block high performance, such as excessive bureaucracy burying them in paperwork, and slowing decision making to a crawl.
"Management has to help employees perform, which in many cases means getting out of the way," he added.
But the reality was that managers all too often simply got in the way and hindered the natural enthusiasm of their workers, he warned.
The study echoes the findings of a survey by specialist journal IRS Employment Review last week.
This found that, while the attitudes of employees can make or break a company, bad management was a far bigger drag on a company's productivity and performance.
A survey earlier in August also found that a third of British workers could not care less whether their company succeeds or fails as long as they get their pay cheque at the end of the month.