Managers fall short of employee expectations

Good communication, the ability to motivate, and integrity are seen by UK workers as the most important attributes to lead a successful business, research finds.

However, the majority of bosses don’t demonstrate these qualities in the workplace, according to a study of more than 1,000 employees by leadership consultancy Korn/Ferry Whitehead Mann.

Being a good communicator is the quality most commonly associated with being an effective business leader according to the findings, but only one in five workers (21 per cent) believes the boss of their business has this skill. The ability to motivate staff is seen as the second most important characteristic, but just 13 per cent of employees think their boss is a good motivator.

Having a good moral compass is seen as a crucial ‘boss factor’, but just 14 per cent of workers think their boss has integrity, a quality that is much more important to female workers, with 13 per cent of them seeing it as the most important attribute compared to just 7 per cent of men.

Less than one in ten employees (9 per cent) sees their organisation’s leader as inspirational, and just 16 per cent think they have long-term vision. Only 17 per cent of UK workers think their boss is decisive, and fewer still (12 per cent) think their boss has charisma or personality.

Korn/Ferry Whitehead Mann managing director Todd Vardy says, ‘Some business leaders demonstrate these qualities more effectively to shareholders or the media than to their employees. The best company leaders succeed in proving their leadership characteristics to all stakeholders: shareholders, customers, the media, colleagues and employees alike.’

UK workers think bosses that are bad leaders are those that are arrogant, have poor communication skills, and are uncaring. Employees are also critical of the type of boss who is obsessed with targets, places more interest in investors than employees, is indecisive or risk-averse, or focuses on cost control rather than growth.

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