Employees say they’d take a hangover over talking to the boss

by Elizabeth Barnard21 Jun 2012

Employees say they’d take a hangover over talking to the bossNew survey data has revealed that ineffective leadership and a lack of empathy for staff are the issues still plaguing many organisations. The ramifications can be devastating – more than a third of workers with poor leaders are rarely, or never, motivated to give their best at work, it was found.

Findings published in the Lessons for Leaders from the People Who Matter report by Harris Interactive found that employees would rather suffer a bad hangover, do housework or see a large credit card bill arrive in the mail rather than face sitting through a performance discussion with their boss. Some 1,250 employees were surveyed globally, and one in three respondents (34%) only sometimes considered their leader to be effective, and over a third (37%) were never motivated to give their best by their leader.

Other key results included:

  • 60% said their boss had damaged their self-esteem
  • The majority of respondents said they were not currently working for the best manager they had ever worked for
  • 53% said they would be 20-60% more productive if they were working for their ‘best ever’ boss
  • Nearly half of respondents said they could be more effective than their manager, but only 46% would actually want to be a leader

As to what’s causing negativity and pessimism, employees said their managers fail to ask for their ideas and input, are poor at work-related conversations and do not provide sufficient feedback on their performance. “It's no wonder employee engagement levels are low,” co-author of the report Simon Mitchell said. “Leaders remain stubbornly poor at these fundamental basics of good leadership that have little to do with the current challenging business climate,” he added.

Mitchell said that fostering leadership skills throughout the workforce remains a critical HR function, and it’s about making managers more aware of their own blind spots.

The research also revealed a third of bosses single out certain employees as 'favourites' (most of the time/always) and only half of the respondents said their manager asks for their help in solving problems, “The good news for businesses and employees alike is that many of these leadership skills can be learnt,” Mitchell added.


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