UK lags behind as leaders hide away

Bosses are apparently held in lower esteem in the UK than in virtually every other big economy...

by
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The UK ranks a measly 10th out of 15 countries in terms of how staff view their business leaders, according to a new survey by career consultancy Right Management. And much of this disdain is down to leaders’ invisibility – around half of those surveyed said their bosses weren’t sufficiently visible to their staff, preferring to hide away in the corner office on the top floor instead. With another third insisting that their boss failed to lead by example, it’s no wonder that UK leaders are trailing well behind their counterparts in places like Australia, the US and India. Still, at least we beat the French…

Good leadership isn’t just a nice-to-have. The survey, which gathered opinions from over 28,000 people around the world, identified a close link between how people perceived their boss and how engaged they are at work – which has obvious consequences for the performance of the business as a whole. 73% of those who rate their boss claim to be engaged, compared to just 32% of those who don’t. Not surprisingly, if you like the person you work for, you’re more likely to work hard.

But if the UK as a whole comes out badly from the survey, certain parts of it come out even worse. Take the public sector – less than a quarter of civil servants reckon their boss leads by example, compared to more than half of the staff in some professions like accountancy. Public sector bosses are also thought to be much less visible than their private sector counterparts. So in other words, the public sector is dragging our score down…

Indian staff apparently have the highest opinion of their bosses, with New Zealand, Brazil, China and the US making up the rest of the top five and Canada, Australia, Denmark and Germany also ranked higher than the poor old UK. Still, at least we can console ourselves with the thought that there’s always someone worse off: we’re one place higher than France, and the famously deferential Japanese ranked their bosses dead last. In the month that we’ve seen the biggest upheaval in Japanese politics for decades, it’s clear that times are changing in the Land of the Rising Sun.


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