Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

One third of UK office workers put off by managers younger than them

UK workers reveal the best and worst management traits

A third (34%) of UK workers would feel uncomfortable, patronized, depressed or as though they were underachieving if they were managed by someone younger than them, according to new research by leading recruiter Spring Personnel.

In a survey which analysed the best and worst traits of bosses, 1,000 UK office workers were asked their preference of management style. The research revealed that authoritative management is the most popular style amongst employees, with nearly a third (29%) claiming that they would prefer their manager to be firm but fair.

Being a good listener is valued by over two-thirds (69%) of UK office workers, and inversely the least attractive trait in a manager was the inability or unwillingness to listen, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed identifying this as one of a manager’s worst traits.  

Employers can also note that leading by example is a popular trait amongst 61% of the workforce, whilst over half (58%) of the young are more likely to look for someone who is forgiving. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to be looking for a manager to inspire them (48% to 39%). 

The survey also identified broad trends in UK workers’ willingness to put up with bad management, with four-fifths (81%) stating that they have either left or would consider leaving a role due to bad management. This is a feeling most prevalent amongst the young; 100% of workers aged 16-24 have left or would consider leaving a role for this reason compared to three-quarters (79%) of workers over 55.

The findings send a strong message to employers that accessibility and an ability to listen is vital in order to retain the top talent, especially in young people, and that more companies need to do more to help their employees’ transition into management roles. Of 1,000 respondents, only a fifth (19%) believe that their company do enough to help the transition into management, and a quarter (26%) of respondents claimed that their company doesn’t help them transition at all

Top 5 best traits in a manager, as decided by UK office workers

  1. A good listener
  2. Leads by example
  3. Understands the strengths of their team
  4. Accessible
  5. Is a good mentor

Top 5 worst traits in a manager, as decided by UK office workers

  1. Not listening
  2. Incompetent
  3. Aggressive
  4. Failing to admit responsibility
  5. Domineering

Alex Fleming, Managing Director of Spring Personnel, said:

“Our research once again shines a light on the importance of effective management in attracting and retaining the best talent in our organisations. With good management extremely high up the list of UK workers’ priorities when deciding to stay in or leave a role, companies should pay close attention to these findings and look out for ways they can encourage good management practice.”

“It is becoming increasingly common for younger bosses to manage teams in our workplaces and it is unsurprising that this may feel like a threat to some. This should not, however, be the case. Workers of all ages should look at how they can share their experiences and company heads play a fundamental role in overseeing and ensuring this works to the benefit of all involved.”