Bosses are out of touch with their staff

2006

Bosses who want to increase levels of motivation among their staff should come down from their ivory towers and spend more time at the coalface with their employees.

Half of the 2,000 employees surveyed by HR consultancy Rightcoutts said that they have never had a conversation with their managing director while almost a quarter did not even know the name of their chief executive.

This was despite most of those surveyed working in small or medium-sized organisations.

Unsurprisingly, half of those questioned said that their bosses have no idea who they are either.

"Our research shows a surprising lack of contact in the workplace between leaders and their staff," said RightCoutts' Erling Nottaasen.

"This apparent anonymity could be hindering business growth and damaging staff motivation."

The research appears to back up this assertion, suggesting that six out of 10 of employees feel that their motivation levels and loyalty to the company would increase if they had a better – or any - relationship with the boss.

In other words, having an approachable leader, who is visible and interacts with staff, has a positive impact on productivity and staff retention.

Meanwhile, four out of 10 of those surveyed also felt that a major reason for employee disengagement is because their MD or CEO is too focused on senior managers. Over a quarter (28 per cent) feel that their leader is not hands on or interested in all areas of the company.

"While visibility is important for leaders, it's vital they strike the right balance between their strategic responsibilities and their involvement at a micro level," Erling Nottaasen said.

"Some of the most admired and successful leaders display a gritty determination not to lose touch with their staff, regardless of how large the organisation is."

"We come across many senior people who believe that 'shop floor' contact is critical to their success as a leader and has a positive impact on the company's performance."