British workers unhappy with leadership conduct

One in three bosses behave with impropriety, with 11% behaving badly or despicably, according to a survey of over 1,000 British workers.

The results from the ICM independent survey of workers commissioned by Inspiring Business Performance (IBP), suggests that 12% of respondents said their boss had displayed inappropriate behaviour in the last 12 months, including bad language, bullying, lying and breaching confidentially.  The research suggests that British workers are calling for a reform in their leadership’s conduct.

More people had taken action as a result of the boss’s bad behaviour than not, including 13% seeking another job and a further four per cent quitting without a new job to go to. The survey also revealed that badly behaved bosses can have a real and financial impact on profitability with employees becoming less productive – ten per cent of workers purposely disrupt the workplace and eight per cent take ‘sickies’ as a result of badly behaved bosses.

But the research also suggests that workers are less keen on having visionary bosses, instead preferring those who are good at team building. Men more often had a lower opinion of managers than women, despite male employees generally earning more and seen as having more opportunity in the workplace.

Age also alters how bosses’ behaviour makes people think and act. Young people are the most likely to have a problem with it while the older generations are more tolerant. 32% of 18-24s gossip compared to just 13% of 55-64s. 18-24s are also far more likely than any other age group to disrupt other colleagues, do less work (16%) or take sick days (12%) as a result. Meanwhile, 55-64s are most likely to raise concerns directly (19%) and the over 65s are most likely to seek another job (21%).

John Telfer, Managing Director, IBP, says of the findings: “While not every boss in the country is bad there are clearly a good number of rotten apples as well as people that need more help to be a good boss.

“Measuring bosses’ behaviour and its impact on the bottom line is vital for companies looking to maintain profitability and growth in the future. British workers are often the source of valuable information and management need to gather these opinions and see what it tells them about how they treat their people and what they can do to make improvements.”

Simon Thorpe, Leadership Coach, The Expressions Partnership, adds: “Few leaders ever actively learn to use good leadership behaviours. The problem is that most never set out to be a leader, but once they’ve become one its difficult to face up to their faults in case this is seen as an admission of weakness. Good leadership comes from continual development and learning.”

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