Boring boss? 24% of UK workers suffer from uninspiring managers

As post summer holiday blues set in as we return to our desks from breaks away, nearly a quarter (24%) of the UK workforce – 7.2 million people¹ – are feeling the effects of uninspiring leaders in the workplace, according to research by Investors in People.

Despite the importance of leading from the front, over a quarter (26%) of people at work do not feel motivated by their managers. Equally, almost a quarter (24%) do not feel they are appreciated for their hard work.

bored worker

The study of 3,500 employees, conducted to identify links between staff management and business performance shines a shocking picture on Britain’s bosses. Nearly one third (30%) of employees don’t trust their boss, which is not surprising when one in five (20%) don’t believe in the importance of training their staff.

Investors in People worked with economic analysis consultancy TBR to evaluate the value of this bad leadership, identifying a £39 billion² cost to UK businesses every year.

Bristol, Sheffield and Glasgow have the most uninspiring bosses with 36%, 33% and 31% of people not motivated by their managers respectively. Meanwhile, Edinburgh, London and Belfast offer the most inspiring bosses, with 82% in Edinburgh and 77% in London and Belfast feeling motivated by their leaders.

The issue is most prevalent in larger businesses (1000+ staff) where one third (33%) of employees do not feel motivated by their managers. However, the situation in small businesses (1-49 staff) does not fare much better with 29% of staff feeling unmotivated by their bosses.

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, commented, “Our research shows that many employees are feeling frustrated in their roles due to poor management. Strong and inspiring leaders are critical in business in order to get the best from your staff. These findings should be a wake up call to leaders and one of the reasons Investors in People has worked with top businesses across the country to launch a leading practice framework, helping organisations manage their people more effectively.”

For more information about Investors in People please visit


¹ Figures taken from ONS Labour Market Statistics, June 2014. 30.54 million people are in work. 24% of people have uninspiring leaders = 7.2 million people

² This figure was identified by asking managers questions about their business’ performance alongside their people management programmes. This was then analysed to uncover underlying connections between performance and people management. ONS data was then used to estimate efficiency gaps in business performance and add monetary values to them.

The findings are based on research conducted by Censuswide amongst 3,500 businesses in the UK.

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