Lack of inspiration stifles UK organisations

UK managers are calling out for business leaders who produce results, demonstrate trust and respect their teams, but less than 4 in 10 claim to see these behaviours in their workplace. The research, published today by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Chartered Management Institute, reveals key areas where managers expect more than they get, but it also offers some good news for the UKs business leaders.

The report, Inspired Leadership an insight into people who inspire exceptional performance identifies the three main characteristics that managers want to see. They are: genuine shared vision (79 per cent), real confidence and trust in teams (77 per cent) and respect for employees, colleagues and customers (73 per cent).

However, less than 4 in 10 respondents believe their leaders regularly demonstrate these attributes. In addition, the single most important factor managers would like to see in their leader is inspiration, however just over 1 in 10 respondents actually see this ability to inspire at work revealing the inspiration gap. In an alarming indictment on the leadership within UK organisations the key findings were:

? Locked in an ivory tower 6 in 10 (62 per cent) say their MD or CEO is out of touch with how staff feel. Only 40 per cent said the head of their organisation chatted to staff and less than one-fifth (19 per cent) experienced an open-door policy.

? Short-sighted approach The majority of managers (79 per cent) want leaders to share their vision of where the organisation is heading, but only 38 per cent claim this actually happens. 43 per cent also claimed their leaders talked more than they listened.

? All work and no play 93 per cent want leaders who inspire fun and excitement, but only 1 in 3 have experienced this at work. Only 44 per cent claimed that team events or outings were arranged for them and less than half (48 per cent) said there was a good buzz at work.

? Tight grip on the reigns 9 out of 10 respondents claimed their boss doesnt trust them. Only 8 per cent claimed to have responsibility to sign-off projects and just 16 per cent were given the flexibility to work from home.

Nigel Crouch, a Senior Industrialist working with DTI Achieving best practice in your business said, The research confirms that todays workforce is more diverse, informed and sophisticated than ever before. Ultimately people are still looking for something different and better in organisational leadership. Companies must develop and learn from best practice approaches to management and leadership to keep employees motivated and committed by creating organisational cultures that foster not only performance, but also a sense of pride and fun.

However, the research is not all bad news for UK business leaders. The findings show some fascinating examples of bosses making an effort to inspire employees. Examples include Listening Lunches where the chief executive has a monthly lunch with staff at all levels, public acknowledgement of achievements and personal thank yous by managing directors to individuals.

Managers also showed they are quick to recognise the difficulties faced by business leaders and praised efforts by their bosses to influence organisational culture. 6 out of ten said their boss presented an honest and open face to staff, 49 per cent admired their leaders clear standards, ethics and integrity and almost half (46 per cent) admired their leaders determination to achieve business objectives.

Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute said, It is the relationships between people that result in actions. The research demonstrates that employees respond to leaders who let them know that what they do is important and that it makes a difference. Leaders who can show trust, respect and appreciation are more likely to keep employees motivated and if they can achieve that much, performance levels are also likely to increase.

The Chartered Management Institute surveyed 568 individuals for this research with an additional 100 managers interviewed by NOP.

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