Poor communication leads to dissatisfaction among the ranks

More than one in four employees (29%) would swap their manager if they could, new research by Investors in People (IiP) shows.

Almost as many (22%) claimed they could do a better job than their superiors, given the chance, with men (25%) more confident of their ability to outdo their boss than women (18%).

The poll of 1,700 employees across the UK, conducted for IiP by YouGov, found that poor communication by managers could be the reason behind this employee dissatisfaction. 

An ability to communicate effectively was listed as the most important quality for a successful manager by respondents, yet nearly one in three (32%) said their manager was not good at communicating with them.

Honesty was ranked in the poll as the second most important quality among managers, but nearly a fifth (19%) of employees believed that their manager had, at some stage, claimed credit for their work.

The research also shows that the most popular type of manager is someone who delegates (43%), followed by someone who is firm but fair (24%), and someone who looks after employees’ careers (11%).

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of IiP (UK), said managers needed to focus their efforts on setting clear tasks and targets for their staff, and linking an employees’ role to the organisation’s overall mission.


“By entrusting employees with more responsibility, and mapping out a path for progression within an organisation, managers can ensure their staff give their all in a way that will sustain productivity and the success of their organisation well into the future,” she said.

The survey also found:



  • Long-term employees are considerably less happy with their managers than newer recruits, with nearly three-quarters of new recruits (74%) claiming to be happy with their bosses – a figure that dropped to 67% after three years with the same organisation and 62% after six years.

  • Employees in larger organisations are more likely to want to change their manager. Over a third (31%) of those working at a organisation with over 1,000 staff would like a new boss, compared to only 24% in companies with up to 50 employees (50-249 employees: 26%; 250+ employees: 27%)

  • The longer an employee stays at an organisation, the more highly they value their manager’s honesty; 85% of those who have worked for more than 10 years at their organisation rate this quality as very important compared to only 70% of new recruits.

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