What do employees really want from their managers?



With only 3% of disengaged employees saying that their job brings out their creative side and a staggering 80% saying that they would be happier if they had more flexibility, it has never been more important for employers to understand what their staff really want.

Although every employee is different – some might like a really hands-on manager and others may prefer to be left to it – an employee survey recently revealed the basic requirements the majority of workers desire.

  • 90% say they want honesty and integrity from their manager with lies and secrets being cited as the biggest killers to credibility.
  • 89% of employees want their manager to be fair and to hold all employees accountable to the same standards – so no favourites.
  • 84% of those surveyed said that they want to respect and to be respected by their manager.
  • 81% want to be able to count on their manager when it’s needed.
  • 77% want to be asked to contribute their ideas and solutions.
  • 76% of employees want their manager to be a genuine person. This is hardly surprising when you consider the fact that we sometimes spend more time with our bosses than our own families.
  • 74% want appreciation for who they are and what they do. A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘great job’ directed to your team can make a huge difference to their job satisfaction.
  • 74% want their manager to listen, understand and respond. As a manager you need to have the ability to take on new ideas and trust others. Shutting people down and only ever going with your own ideas will lead to a very unhappy and unmotivated workforce.

Whilst it’s very important to understand what motivates your employees, it’s also essential to know what they don’t want and the following findings may come as a big surprise.

  • Believe it or not, only 3% of people want their manager to be their friend. Although it is great to get on well with your staff and have the kind of relationship where they feel they can talk to you, generally, it would appear as though your team doesn’t want to see you at weekends or be your Facebook friend. They are rather looking for someone to be their leader, mentor them and set a good example.
  • Only 25% of employees want emotional support from their manager. With mental illnesses becoming more commonplace, this is a difficult one to balance because it is important for managers to address these issues but staff may not feel comfortable talking about them. The survey revealed that employees typically turn to their co-workers for support rather than their boss so let them know you’re there for them if they need to talk but encourage an environment where colleagues can talk privately amongst themselves if necessary. For your own wellbeing, remember not to take this personally. They’re probably just worried that you might not think they’re capable of doing their job properly if you know all their woes.
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