Inspiring bosses are in perilously short supply, according to new research which finds too many UK workers feel despondent about their managers.
Amongst 4000 workers who have a boss, a third (33%) rated their boss as uninspiring, with 12% rating them as ‘extremely uninspiring’, in a study conducted by YouGov for leading communications agency The Good Relations Group. Only a fifth (21%) of UK employees rated their boss at the ‘excellent’ end of the spectrum, with just 5% rating their boss as ‘extremely inspiring’.
Using a 1–10 scale, UK workers gave their managers an average inspiration quotient or ‘IQ’ of less than 5.5 out of 10.
Other things that emerged from the YouGov survey were that Scotland was a ‘black-spot’; London scored highest; travel and transport was the least engaged sector; older workers become more demanding, as do parents the more children they have; there was very little difference between men and women; workers in media, marketing, advertising and PR are most likely to rate their bosses inspiring; followed by IT industry workers; but that only 20% of employees in government rated their bosses as inspiring.
“Engaged employees drive greater growth and profitability, and workers are only engaged if they have inspiring bosses,” says Kevin Murray, chairman of The Good Relations Group and author of The Language of Leaders. “Without strong leaders to drive that inspiration and engagement, the UK faces a difficult climb out of austerity.”
This will be unwelcome if unsurprising news for the UK’s Engage for Success taskforce, launched by David Cameron to drive improved performance and productivity after he was shown figures suggesting that only one third of UK employees are ‘actively engaged at work’, and sits uneasily beside a recent report from Ashridge Business School that showed ‘employee engagement’ has yet to take its place as a topic for serious CEO and C-suite focus.
“The trouble is, bosses believe they are more inspiring than their employees think,” says Murray. As a response to this Murray has created a fast and simple online test for leaders to measure their Leadership Inspiration Quotient, and to learn about ways to become more inspiring.
The Leadership Inspiration Quotient is based on research among 70 leaders from the public and private sectors, the Army and global charities when interviewed for The Language of Leaders, about how they communicate. That research showed that inspiring leaders regularly employed the same principles to achieve engagement.
Among the principles that leaders work on in order to better inspire are to ‘be yourself better’, to ‘listen louder’, to be aware of signals that you give out to others, to have a strong point of view, to understand the power of your organization’s mission and values and of focusing on the future when you speak as a leader.
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