UK infested with bad managers

May 10 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Poor management is rife in the UK workplace with nine out of 10 employees claiming to have worked for a bad manager. And according to a new study, the problem is getting worse.

The report by law firm Eversheds, which canvassed the views of 1,500 employees, reveals that just over a quarter of workers believe management styles have become too harsh during the last year, with almost have admitting that they have worked for a bully.

The study also shows that communication skills are endemic among UK managers. The overwhelming majority of workers (97 per cent) would like their bosses to communicate more clearly and directly.

Specifically, employees would like to see an end to 'management speak', with phrases such as 'are we all singing from the same hymn sheet' and 'thinking out of the box' causing particular irritation.

David Gray, chief executive of Eversheds said the findings made troubling reading.

"Strong and effective leadership should be at the heart of all good businesses," he said. "The report shows that poor communication, lack of direction and weak decision making are widespread among UK bosses."

Unsurprisingly, the survey also revealed a distinct lack of respect for management, with more than a third of workers having a negative perception of their current boss.

But while the message is that we all respond to managers who are approachable, straight talking and honest, the results suggest that workers don't want their managers to be too straight talking.

Sir Alan Sugar is certainly not held up as a role model for UK bosses, with almost seven out of 10 saying they would not work for the acerbic entrepreneur and star of BBC2's 'The Apprentice'.

Another significant finding from the survey is that two thirds of Britons believe that men make better bosses Ė with even a majority of women saying that men are the best leaders.

Conversely, however, younger workers in the 16 Ė 24 age group believe that women are more effective managers.

"BBC 2's The Apprentice has certainly stirred up the debate about what makes a good manager and the programme has clearly highlighted the importance of strong leadership Ė how many times has the team failed because of an ineffective project manager?" David Gray added.

"This study highlights the importance of training at every level within an organisation. Failing to invest in managers could have a real impact on the bottom line as there is strong correlation between the quality of management and productivity."