Managers Paint Dour Picture of "Out of Touch" CEOs

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Out of touch with staff, all work and no play and unable to communicate their vision – this is the unflattering picture British managers have painted of their MDs and CEOs in a study by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The report "Inspired Leadership - an insight into people who inspire exceptional performance" found that the single most important factor managers would like to see in their leader is 'inspiration' but just one in 10 respondents said that they felt this at work.

Respondents said the three main characteristics they would like to see in their leader were 'genuine shared vision' (79 per cent), 'real confidence and trust in teams' (77 per cent) and 'respect for employees, colleagues and customers' (73 per cent). But just 40% felt their leaders demonstrated these traits.

Findings included:
* Locked in an ivory tower - 62% said their MD or CEO is out of touch with how staff feel.

* Short-sighted approach – 79% of managers wanted leaders to share their vision of where the organisation is heading, but only 38% felt this actually happened.

* All work and no play – 93% wanted leaders who inspired fun and excitement, but only 1 in 3 have experienced this at work.

* Tight grip on the reigns - 9 out of 10 respondents claimed their boss doesn't trust them.

However, the research was not all bad news for UK business leaders, there were some examples of bosses making an effort to inspire employees. Examples included "listening lunches" where the chief executive has a monthly lunch with staff at all levels, public acknowledgement of achievements and personal 'thank yous' by managing directors.

Managers also praised their bosses with 60% saying their boss presented an honest and open face to staff, 49% admired their leader's clear standards, ethics and integrity and almost half (46%) admired their leader's determination to achieve business objectives.

Mary Chapman, chief executive of the CMI said that the study showed the importance of communication.

"The research demonstrates that employees respond to leaders who let them know that what they do is important and that it makes a difference. Leaders who can show trust, respect and appreciation are more likely to keep employees motivated and if they can achieve that much, performance levels are also likely to increase."

* The CMI surveyed 568 individuals for this research with an additional 100 managers interviewed by NOP.

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