Leaders fail their managers, says damning report

Oct 15 2004 by Nic Paton Print This Article

More than half of Britain’s business leaders fail to demonstrate trust, show respect for their teams or even manage to produce results, a Government-backed survey has suggested.

The damning findings from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Chartered Management Institute have found that only four out of ten managers believe their leaders show these attributes in the workplace.

UK managers are crying out for business leaders who can produce what they have promised, show respect and demonstrate trust, the Inspired Leadership study has argued.

The research of 668 people also said managers often expected more than they got from their leaders.

The single most important thing managers wanted to see from their leaders was 'inspiration', but just one in ten said they felt inspired.

A worrying six out of ten felt their managing director or CEO was effectively locked away in an ivory tower and out of touch.

Only four out of ten said their boss chatted to staff and fewer than one fifth had ever experienced an open door policy.

The vast majority of managers – 79 per cent – were desperate for their leaders to share their vision of where the organisation was heading, but fewer than four out of ten claimed this actually happened.

And more than one in four – 43 per cent – felt their leaders talked more than they listened.

For those bosses who still have night terrors over The Office’s David Brent, it will come as no solace to know that 93 per cent of their managers want leaders who inspire fun and excitement. But only one in three have experienced this.

Fewer than half – 48 per cent – of those polled felt there was a good `buzz’ in the office.

Just as worrying, nine out of ten claimed their bosses did not appear to trust them, just eight per cent had responsibility for signing off projects and only 16 per cent were given the flexibility to work from home.

Nigel Crouch, a senior industrialist at the DTI, said: "Companies must develop and learn from best practice approaches to management and leadership to keep employees motivated and committed by creating organisational cultures that foster not only performance, but also a sense of pride and fun."

Mary Chapman, CMI chief executive, added: "Leaders who can show trust, respect and appreciation are more likely to keep employees motivated and if they can achieve that much, performance levels are also likely to increase."

Sue Cheshire, managing director of the Academy for Chief Executives, said leaders needed to learn to let go. Inspiration was the opposite of control, she suggested.

"It is not only something you give to others, inspiration is what others take from you, mostly unconsciously," she added.