Bosses are incompetent, say most UK employees

British workers are losing faith in managers, with 55% saying their boss isn't up to the job.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2011
Alongside British workers grappling with job uncertainty and a rise in retirement age, it appears workers are also facing more basic problems within the workplace.  More than half of employees in the UK don’t think their manager is up to the job, a survey by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) suggests.  Perhaps even more worryingly, they’re completely oblivious to the fact.  

And it appears they won’t be getting a dose of reality any time soon. Of the 2,000 British employees questioned by the CMI, nearly two thirds say their boss is unapproachable, so they can’t discuss their concerns.  The paradox is that more than a third of employees are convinced their boss thinks he or she is actually pretty good at what they do.

In the past month 61% of staff have wanted to ask their boss for help making a decision, but haven’t had the chance.  This has led to most workers making decisions they aren’t qualified to make, resulting in a tenth covering up any mistakes they have made.  Almost 40% of employees feel their boss’ behaviour increases stress levels and one in ten blame their boss for declining health.

This contributes to a higher number of ‘sickies,’ the CMI suggests – a problem which is costing the UK economy billions of pounds.  According to the latest annual report on absence in the workplace by the Confederation of British Industry, 190m working days were lost last year due to staff absence, costing British businesses £17bn.  

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the CMI, said the results reflecting employees’ lack of confidence at work shows that managers ‘must do more to meet their teams’ needs, if UK plc is to thrive.’ Managers need to make brave decisions if they’re to lead the team confidently. Or, to take Lord Sugar’s advice on the Apprentice, perhaps UK business needs fewer ‘Steady Eddies and Cautious Carols.’

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