HR & Management

How UK employers match up to the perfect boss dreamed up by staff

3 min read

30 October 2017

One4all Rewards polled 1,024 employees to find out what traits they assigned to their perfect boss – and how those in real life compared.

All employees enter the workforce hoping to come face-to-face with their perfect boss, who’d exhibit specific leadership traits. Honesty, for example, was cited by 41 per cent of UK staff as the most important quality the ideal employer would possess.

Being approachable was the second most valued trait, pointed out by 35 per cent of the selected workforce. Stir in some fairness, organisational skills and sincerity, and you’ve got the perfect boss. Don’t forget to add a strong working relationship to the mix – employees explained that it played a key role in retaining them in the long-term.

But at the end of the day, most know nothing about their bosses when they join the company. So how do leaders measure up to employees’ image of the perfect boss?

Employers are falling flat at the first hurdle. There seems to be a trust gap, with only 23 per cent claiming their bosses to be of the honest variety. The same number of workers suggested their bosses were approachable. Only 15 per cent thought management was fair, while 18 per cent thought leaders to be organised.

Alan Smith, UK managing director at One4all Rewards, opined: “The perfect boss inspires people to work hard and has the kind of relationship that sees employees comfortable with discussing problems. Similarly, there needs to be a degree of trust and senserity. Without it, feedback – both good and bad – is unlikely to be believed or taken seriously.

“What I find particularly interesting is how these ideal qualities mirror those we seek in friendships outside of the workplace. Bosses don’t need to be friends with their employees, but having the basics of a respectful and honest relationship is important.”

In addition to these findings, One4all Rewards’ previous research unveiled that being regularly thanked by an employer increased loyalty. Mucking in when times were tough also proved an opinion changer by 62 per cent of the 1,024 employees.

The ability to establish a relationship with staff was also why those in the financial services, law and accountancy sectors held their employers in higher regard. 

At the time, former managing director Declan Byrne, suggested: “Even the most informed and experienced boss would struggle to maintain a successful, growing company without their work being underpinned by happy and hardworking staff. But some are unfortunately not quite winning the loyalty of their staff – indeed, some go as far as to say their boss is ‘poor’.

“Effective and expressive communication is the most crucial distinction workers measure their bosses by. Everyone wants their efforts to be recognised and valued, and to clearly understand what it is their manager expects of them. Communication is absolutely vital for maintaining positive morale in the workforce.”