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Authoritarian, bureaucratic and secretive are the most common UK management styles, according to a workforce survey


Half of the UK workforce thinks the dominant management style within their organisation is negative, putting the UK's economic recovery at risk.

A new survey of the workforce (5,000 adults surveyed by One Poll) on behalf of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) highlights the three most common management styles within UK workplaces as authoritarian (according to 21%), bureaucratic (16%) and secretive (12.5%).

Only 10% describe their bosses as accessible and just 7% think senior staff within their organisation are empowering.  

Responding to the survey's findings, Ruth Spellman, chief executive of CMI, said: "It is an embarrassment for the UK that over half of companies' management style is seen to be negative by the people that know them best - their employees. And in case bosses think this doesn't matter as long as they are turning a profit, think again. Goodwill and engagement among employees doesn't only improve people's working lives but it adds to the bottom line - in productivity, retention rates and customer loyalty. Negativity breeds negativity and if we are serious about pushing the UK towards economic recovery, we need more businesses that are innovative, accessible and empowering.

"The key to improving management is knowing what is wrong, and it's time for managers to get serious about their development, play to their strengths and develop any weaker areas. Our new digital tool is great fun but at its heart is a serious message; we cannot allow substandard management to continue to damage UK plc."

A fifth of those surveyed said the traditional stereotypical ‘suited and booted' view of managers is a major turn-off, while celebrity TV managers, including Lord Alan Sugar and X Factor's Simon Cowell, are seen as off-putting by a further 12%. This may also explain why both Sugar and Cowell are unpopular choices as the celebrity managers people would most like to work for, chosen by just 15% and 11% respectively.

CMI also asked people to consider whom, among those key figures vying for votes in the forthcoming General Election, they would rather be managed by. David Cameron was the most popular choice, for more than a third of those asked (37%) with Gordon Brown in second, securing support from 22% of those polled, closely followed by Nick Clegg with 21% and Caroline Lucas (20%).  

To encourage UK managers to consider their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they come across to colleagues, CMI has launched a unique online application. By visiting www.comparethemanager.com and answering 12 quick-fire questions, managers will find out whether their primary management strength is providing direction, achieving results, working with people or managing self. Individuals will also discover which celebrity manager their management style is most like and have access to practical guidance and advice that will help them to become better, all-round managers.