A quarter of bosses have ‘destructive’ leadership style

One manager in four has a “catastrophically” bad style of leadership and could be damaging productivity in their teams, a study has warned.

A survey by management consultancy Orion Partners found that 24% of employees thought their bosses were over-stressed, poor communicators and lacked empathy – a combination judged to be counterproductive and in some cases destructive by the report.

Just 5% of workers said that their managers led in a way that: meant they were empathetic; explained why organisational change was good to staff members as individuals; created workplaces in which employees felt rewarded for their efforts; and were self-aware.

Overall, 35% of respondents said that, when their organisation needed to change, their boss personally made them aware of the benefits. Just 33% said that their managers demonstrated self-awareness.

However, almost half (47%) of the 2,000 workers surveyed said that their managers made them feel threatened, rather than rewarded, and 85% said that their managers cared more about what they did than what they were feeling.

Jan Hills, the partner responsible for talent and leadership at Orion, said: “By not managing these feelings of threat, leaders are creating limitations on people’s ability to perform and are, in severe cases, increasing the risk of employees suffering from anxiety and depression.”

She added that improving the quality of leadership was a good way to tackle the current “productivity gap” in the economy.

“We’ve got the strongest labour market of any G7 country other than Canada, but economic output is lower than expected because the workforce is not firing on all cylinders,” she said.

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