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Leaders struggle to stay in touch

17 Sep 2012 - Blog

Leaders struggle to stay in touch


We have just taken a closer look at staff views on the qualities of leaders in their organisations.

One high level finding, covering all major UK sectors, is that less than half of employees believe their organisations are well led. In times of change and uncertainty, this is a key issue affecting employee confidence and engagement.

Looking into the data, we find that top management are doing some things better than others. For example, whilst 56% of people believe leaders provide a clear vision and do a good job in keeping people informed, only 33% believe that senior managers involve people in important decisions and only 32% believe leaders are in touch with what really goes on. Worryingly, 25% of employees do not as a result trust what their leaders are thinking and saying.

Perhaps understandably then, leaders seem to be doing a better job of broadcasting information than they do of acquiring it.

Any viewer of ‘Back to the Floor’ will understand the value of senior leaders spending time at shop floor level to gain a real grounding of what is happening in their organisation, rather than believing everything they are told in their briefing papers. However, our data re-enforces the view that both bad news and good ideas too infrequently fail to make it up to the Boardroom, resulting in missed opportunities, a lack of engagement, and in some cases a failure to identify and address serious corporate malpractice.

In order for employees to trust what senior leaders are thinking and saying they need to be persuaded that, fundamentally, leaders are well informed of the challenges and opportunities that employees themselves see every day.

Tom Debenham

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