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The importance of good leadership on employee attitudes.

The importance of good leadership on employee attitudes

Board directors have a more sanguine view of the organization than those they direct, according to The Management Agenda 2008, published by management-development specialist Roffey Park.

In a survey of 479 managers, 82% of board directors reported that the overall quality of leadership in their organizations was effective, compared with 62% of other directors and senior managers and 52% of middle managers.

The results are consistent with previous research, which has shown that the more information people have about their organization, and the more they feel ‘in control’ of their work, the more positive will be their view of work.

Gordon (Financial Management; Nov 2007) highlights the particular importance of these characteristics during organizational change. The author points out that change leaders need proper self-awareness and an understanding of employees’ possible reactions to the change process. Change leaders also need to be able to create an inspiring vision around the process and clearly present the steps needed to achieve it. They must engage with people on every level and set up small teams to work on any problem areas that arise. Most importantly, they must give employees sufficient influence over the whole process to be able to take control of their own destiny.

According to Jo Hennessy, Roffey Park research director and co-author of The Management Agenda: ‘Organizations that outperform financial expectations generally have a better quality of leadership than underperforming organizations and are more likely to be actively developing leadership at all levels.’

The Roffey Park research shows that 81% find work contributes to their general happiness, 96% are genuinely interested in their work and 87% are committed to their organizations. Some 78% claim to work longer than their contracted hours. While the most common reason for this is increasing workload (60%) just over half of employees say they work extra hours because they enjoy their work.

This finding is particularly interesting in the light of a survey revealing that the first Monday in November is the busiest day of the year for online retailing. The reason, some have suggested, is that savvy Christmas shoppers visit the shops for inspiration over the weekend, then go to price-comparison sites and place their orders from work on Mondays.

The Business Software Alliance reports that 46% of online shopping happens during working hours. And with the addictive nature of internet shopping – and the internet in general – it can be all too easy for employees to end up spending hours online during the working day. Suddenly, the picture of contented employees, working above and beyond the call of duty because of their love of the job, does not look so convincing.

Stokely (In the Black; Nov 2007) argues that employee abuse of internet facilities can harm productivity, reduce morale and increase costs. It can also expose the organization to poor publicity and, possibly, legal action. The author recommends companies to investigate their employees’ use of the web and e-mail facilities and to create a clear policy on what is and is not allowed, which is appropriate to the organization and in line with privacy laws.