Businesses 'held back by their managers'


British businesses are being held back by managers who fail to get the best out of their staff, according to worrying research carried out by the Work Foundation.

Almost one in four employees feel uninspired by their bosses and just over a quarter believe senior managers fail to provide them with a clear vision.

The situation has deteriorated since a similar study carried out by the foundation in February.

Then, two-thirds of employees said that their managers had a clear vision for the organisation whereas now fewer that three in five feel this way.

A total of 60 per cent of those polled who were critical of their employer identified improving the quality of management as a top priority for their organisation, against just 18 per cent of those who spoke highly of their employer.

David Coats, associate director – policy at foundation, said: "There are some hard messages here for many British managers.

"Big improvements in communication are needed if employers are to unlock the full potential of their staff," he added.

"The underperformers must learn a simple lesson from world-class British businesses – there is no substitute for genuine employee involvement and engagement," he concluded.

Gideon Skinner, research director at pollster MORI, which carried out the research, said both line managers and senior managers played a key role in successful organisations.

"Managing day-to-day issues is just the beginning; staff also pick up on the vision (or lack of) for their organisation set out by senior management, and how likely are you to be enthusiastic about your company if your line manager can't be?"

Alexandra Jones, associate director at the foundation added that poor management sapped the motivation of staff.

"Critics of their employers are twice as likely to say higher morale is vital for them to do a better job," she pointed out.

"Improved management is vital if the UK is to have a happier and more productive workforce," she added.

Older Comments

It is so true, the best managers in the world inspire, have focus and lead through interaction with their staff and teams. Look at companies like Microsoft where Bill gates leads through his vision, his passion to see creativity and innovation make a difference, where staff are encouraged to put their hands up and make a difference. MYOB in Australia, where the vision of the founders Craig Winkler and Chris Lee were to liberate and empower small business owners to take control of their lives through the development of accounting and small business software that took the mundane out of their days.

However, it is the experience of this writer, that bosses that are there for their own personal gain, while intially succeeding, ultimately fall at the second or third hurdle, as they fail to inspire the wider audience, the team and individuals that also have an emotionally invested interest in the wellbeing, vision and success of the organisation and the protection this can avail.

It is the responsibility of good managers, leaders and HR to ensure that recruiters have the tools to ensure the appropriate person is identified and appointed. That they share the values, live the vision and have an alignment to the goals of the organisation. This may mean hiring an asshole, if what the organisation needs is oomph and change, but realistically it will require people who inspire, motivate and lead. These qualities will mean the success of team and organisations, as people have clear expectations, alignment to the organisations objectives and will aid in personal and company competitive advantage.


Anon New Zealand