Two words could be the key to unlocking the potential of Britain’s managers – "thank you".
The damning study by employment services firm Adecco and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has found managers just want a bit of praise for what they do - assuming they’ve done a good job, of course - but rarely get it.
Employees are also crying out for businesses to be more flexible, less bureaucratic, offer more training and to stop letting poor performers ride on the backs of their more effective colleagues.
The study found nearly two thirds of the 1,500 managers polled - 65 per cent - felt they were working for a bureaucratic or reactive organisation.
One in three complained they had received no training in the past 12 months, despite more than half knowing that a training budget existed.
Almost six out of ten said they felt energised by their goals, but most did not see any recognition for their efforts.
Adecco and the CMI suggested that organisations needed to remember to thank managers and workers for their contribution. Praise could often matter more than pay, they argued.
Nearly four out of ten of those polled also wanted a compressed working week, but fewer than six per cent expected it to happen.
Worryingly, chief executives were rarely getting their message across clearly, concluded the research.
More than half of those polled said their CEOs were unable to express a clear vision, and felt frustrated by the lack of communication within their workplace.
And it’s not that managers want an easy life either. Exactly half felt their businesses were too tolerant of poor performance.
"With the increase in working hours, traditional working practices will have to change to ensure business energy remains high and people do not become demoralised by working," warned Adecco managing director Richard MacMillan.
"Energy levels can be an indication of commitment and a powerful driver of successful growth. So unless staff are motivated to perform and given the opportunity to develop there is a danger that organisations and their people will stagnate," added CMI director of professional affairs, Christine Hayhurst.