Headlines: October 15th, 2004

Managers in local and central government are calling out for business leaders who produce results, demonstrate trust and respect their teams, but only four in ten claim to see such behaviour in their workplace, according to new research. The study from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Chartered Management Institute, highlights areas where managers in central and local government expect more than they get.The report, “Inspired Leadership – an insight into people who inspire exceptional performance” lists three main characteristics that public sector managers want to see. They are genuine shared vision, real confidence and trust in teams, both of which were mentioned by 95 per cent of respondents, and respect for employees, colleagues and customers, cited by 86 per cent. But fewer than 4 in 10 of those surveyed believed their own leaders regularly demonstrated these attributes. The single most important factor the managers wanted to see in their leader was inspiration.

Two thirds of the managers said their managing director or chief executive officer was out of touch with how staff felt and only 40 per cent said the head of their organisation chatted to staff. Less than a fifth experienced an open-door policy. Other criticisms were the shortsighted approach of leaders, bosses who do not trust them and the lack of leaders who inspire fun and excitement.

But the research also found fascinating examples of bosses making an effort to inspire employees though events such as “Listening Lunches” where the chief executive has a monthly lunch with staff at all levels and public acknowledgement of achievements.

Managers in central and local government also showed they were quick to recognise the difficulties faced by business leaders and praised efforts by their bosses to influence organisational culture. Six out of ten said their boss presented an honest and open face to staff, and 80 per cent admired their leader’s clear standards, ethics and integrity.