Shock finding – Britons rate their bosses and take pride in their work

Jan 18 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Two-thirds of British workers feel their boss is a good leader, and three quarters say they are proud to work for their organisation, according to a study looking at trust and leadership.

The survey by organisational and personal development consultancy Sheppard Moscow also found that three quarters of workers said they trusted their boss, with women more likely to be proud of their employer than men.

Nevertheless, said Sheppard Moscow, the fact that a third of workers did not feel their boss was a good leader posed serious questions for organisations in how more of them could develop their people skills in order to get better and more authentic leaders.

Asked about the most important leadership attribute, the 1,000 people polled put "having a clear vision of where they are going" at the top, while the least important was felt to be "putting people before profit".

Female respondents placed more emphasis on "telling the truth", "putting people before profit" and "doing what they said they would do" than male respondents.

The NHS, perhaps unsurprisingly, was rated the organisation that people trusted the most to "work in the best interests of its customers".

More curious, though, considering the strong opinions it can raise both for and against it, was that supermarket chain Tesco came a close second.

Overall, older people tended to be more trusting of all organisations, the survey found.

Sheppard Moscow consultant Nicola Lincoln said: "Although this survey is clearly only a brief snapshot of public opinion, certain conclusions are clear.

"Once upon a time, leaders were identified by their impressive job titles and large offices," she added.

"Thankfully, those days are gone, and we've moved away from restrictive hierarchies. Leadership is now about engaging people and marshalling their energy behind values, vision and direction," she concluded.

The survey also found that the British public had more faith and trust in community based organisations and high-profile individuals than in government officials and politicians.

While the public questioned the honesty and trustworthiness of key government figures, they were equally happy to acclaim business and media leaders whom they saw as "authentic" in their actions.

Newscaster Sir Trevor McDonald topped the list of the most trusted individual, ahead of business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson and pop star and poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof.

McDonald's remarkable research rating was comparable only to the medical profession in terms of public trust, said Sheppard Moscow.

Both Chancellor Gordon Brown and, intriguingly, car mechanics were more trusted than the Prime Minister, whose trust rating was now on a par with estate agents.

U.S president George Bush and large global corporations were the least trusted by the British public.