Employees give scathing report on UK management

Tue.13.Apr.2010 UTC
Employees give scathing report on UK management
RECORDED ON Tue.13.Apr.2010 UTC

Half of the UK workforce thinks the dominant management style within their organisation is negative, putting the UK's economic recovery at risk.  The finding comes from figures published today by CMI (Chartered Management Institute).

A new survey of the workforce (5,000 adults surveyed by One Poll) highlights the three most common management styles within UK workplaces as authoritarian (according to 21 per cent), bureaucratic (16 per cent) and secretive (12.5 per cent). Only 10 per cent describe their bosses as accessible and just seven per cent think senior staff within their organisation are empowering. 

To encourage UK managers to consider their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they come across to colleagues, CMI has launched a unique online application. By visiting  and answering 12 quick-fire questions, managers will find out whether their primary management strength is providing direction, achieving results, working with people or managing self. Individuals will also discover which celebrity manager their management style is most like and have access to practical guidance and advice which will help them to become better, all-round managers.

Responding to the survey's findings, Ruth Spellman, chief executive of CMI said: "It is an embarrassment for the UK that over half of companies' management style is seen to be negative by the people that know them best – their employees. And in case bosses think this doesn't matter as long as they are turning a profit, think again. Goodwill and engagement among employees doesn't only improve people's working lives but it adds to the bottom line – in productivity, retention rates and customer loyalty. Negativity breeds negativity and if we are serious about pushing the UK towards economic recovery, we need more businesses that are innovative, accessible and empowering."

“The key to improving management is knowing what is wrong, and it's time for managers to get serious about their development, play to their strengths and develop any weaker areas. Our new digital tool is great fun but at its heart is a serious message; we cannot allow substandard management to continue to damage UK plc."

The negative perceptions people have of their bosses, combined with a downbeat portrayal of managers by the media, may also be adversely affecting the desire of individuals to occupy senior roles. A fifth of those surveyed said the traditional stereotypical ‘suited and booted' view of managers is a major turn-off, while celebrity TV managers, including Lord Alan Sugar and X-Factor's Simon Cowell, are seen as off-putting by a further 12 per cent. This may also explain why both Sugar and Cowell are unpopular choices as the celebrity managers people would most like to work for, chosen by just 15 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

Ruth Spellman continued: “We need to revolutionise management and leadership in the UK, and fundamentally change the way the profession is regarded by both the general public, today's managers and the managers of the future. Too few people aspire to occupy management roles and the negative perceptions people have of their own managers, combined with the damaging stereotypes peddled by the media, are seriously undermining the profession."

CMI also asked people to consider who, among those key figures vying for votes in the forthcoming general election, they would rather be managed by. David Cameron was the most popular choice, for more than a third of those asked (37 per cent) with Gordon Brown in second, securing support from 22 per cent of those polled, closely followed by Nick Clegg with 21 per cent and Caroline Lucas (20 per cent).