The most productive workers are often thought of as those who love their work. But even the best of workers can be hampered by poor leadership.
Further evidence of that is contained in new research which shows that leaders who lack empathy demonstrate poor leadership skills, and a significant number of them are ineffective as managers. Moreover, a report released this week by talent-management company DDI shows that many managers frequently fail to ask workers for their ideas and input, are poor communicators and don't provide sufficient feedback on employee performance.
The survey, which polled nearly 1,300 workers in the U.S. and U.K., Australia, Canada, China, India, Germany and three countries in Southeast Asia, found that many would rather endure a bad hangover, do housework or view credit-card bills rather than sit through a job-performance review with their boss.
Results also showed that a majority -- 60 percent -- reported that their bosses sometimes, most of the time or always damage employees' self-esteem. A majority also said they don't now work for the best boss they've had. And of those, nearly 80 percent of respondents said they could boost their output by as much as 60 percent if only they worked for their "best-ever" boss.
In other words, DDI says, if every two to three people were managed by their "best-ever" leaders, there would be a productivity gain equal to another person.
The study also showed a staggering difference in the motivation among employees who work for best or worst managers, based on respondents' perceptions. Of those who reported working for a good boss, 98 percent said they felt motivated to give their best, compared to just 11 percent for employees who worked for a bad boss.
Similarly, 94 percent of those with good bosses said their managers did a good job helping them be more productive, while only 5 percent of those with bad bosses said the same.
"Leaders remain stubbornly poor at these fundamental basics of good leadership that have little to do with the current challenging business climate," says Simon Mitchell, DDI director and co-author of the report.
"It's important that organizations equip the people managing their workforce with these basic leadership essentials, and that managers are aware of their own blind spots in these areas," says Mitchell, in a statement accompanying the report's findings.
The good news, he says, is that bad managers can improve their management skills through training.
Among other findings in DDI's report, "Lessons for Leaders from the People Who Matter," researchers found:
- More than a third (35 percent) of respondents say their bosses only listen to their workplace concerns sometimes or never.
- A third (34 percent) of bosses single out certain employees as "favorites" either most of the time or always.
- Only half (51 percent) say their manager asks for their help in solving problems most of the time or always, and 45 percent say their boss "only sometimes or never" gives sufficient feedback on their performance.
- Unsurprisingly, two out of every five (39 percent) respondents say they have left a job primarily because of their manager or leaders, and 55 percent say they have considered leaving a job because of their leader.
For more about "bad bosses" and how they fall down on the job, check out this infographic from theFIT, a website that provides job seekers with inside information about potential employers.
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