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'Brain-fried' employers have a destructive approach to leadership, says neuroscience consultancy

A poll of 2,000 UK workers revealed a damning employee assessment of today's business leaders and their leadership style. It found employee confidence in UK leaders appears to be at 'rock bottom'.

Just 4.8% of UK workers believe that their leaders were leading in an entirely 'brain-friendly' manner. Neuroscience research applied by management consultancy firm Orion to leadership development claims brain-friendly leadership is critical in driving workforce engagement, high performance and overall success.

A quarter of employees said the leader of their organisation was entirely 'brain-fried'. Totally brain-fried leaders are over stressed, poor communicators and lack empathy with their employees, the report said. Orion said brain-fried leaders have a catastrophically bad and in some cases destructive approach to leadership.

The study asked employees to grade their bosses on a number of criteria: threat versus reward, managing change, empathy, self-awareness and creating better leaders.

Almost half of the employees Orion surveyed said that the leaders of their organisation made them feel threatened, rather than rewarded.

In answer to the question: "When your organisation needs to change are you made aware of why is it good for you personally?". Just 35% of employees said they were. Some 85% of employees polled said that the leader of their current organisation was more interested in what they do - rather than how they are feeling.

A third (33%) said that their leaders demonstrated self-awareness and Orion said that the quality of the UK's leaders could be improved by using the principles of neuroscience.

Jan Hills, partner responsible for talent and leadership at Orion, said: "Every business understands the importance of good leadership, but many admit to having difficulty in finding and developing people that will inspire and make a difference.

"These findings hold the key to understanding what makes 'brain-friendly' leaders good and what makes 'brain-fried' leaders bad."

She added: "Leaders need to maximise the productivity of their employees. At the moment, there is a productivity gap in the economy. We've got the strongest labour market of any G7 country other than Canada, but economic output is lower than expected because the workforce is not firing on all cylinders.

"One way to increase productivity is by improving the quality of UK leadership. Brain-friendly leadership training can help do that."

The online survey was carried out by Orion in July 2012 and polled 2,000 UK workers.