A poll of 2,000 UK workers by management consultancy organisation Orion Partners found that confidence in leadership is currently at rock bottom.
Only one in 20 UK workers said their boss was a good leader, while 24% said their leaders were over-stressed, poor at communicating and lacking in empathy.
Empathy is thought to be a vital part of leadership. Good leaders harness the power of empathy to show their team they care about how they feel, rather than just about what they do.
Jan Hills, the partner responsible for talent and leadership at Orion, said: “The experience of being understood is very rewarding to an individual. At a neurological level this experience boosts serotonin which contributes towards feelings of well-being and happiness. Without empathy, people can be susceptible to greater stress and feelings similar to physical pain.”
Worryingly, 85% of UK employees said their leaders care more about what they do than how they feel.
Another great leadership quality is self-awareness, something that only 67% of UK bosses appear to have according to the employees polled
People who lack self-awareness pretend to ‘know it all’ and rarely show humility by admitting to their mistakes. According to Hills, this behaviour has a negative impact on employees because it instils fear and a sense of inadequacy. Employees also lose respect for leaders who patently sweep their mistakes under the rug. Facing up to weaknesses and publicly rectifying them shows employees that they too can overcome their weaknesses without feeling ashamed.
Change is one of the most difficult issues to deal with in a professional environment. When asked: ‘When your organisation needs to change are you made aware of why it is good for you personally?’, only 35% of employees said they were.
According to Orion research, the most effective way of managing change is to explain to each team member how the change will benefit them personally. Bad leaders simply tell their staff to change, which can feel undermining and increases the risk of resistance.
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