British adults have a good idea of the qualities and skills most employers look for in prospective employees, but our recent research into UK management has turned the tables on this - revealing the attributes that workers see in their ideal boss, and how much UK managers match up to them.

In our UK Management Review Whitepaper, we surveyed UK employees, asking them about the qualities they would value the most in bosses and how their own bosses match up.


The research revealed that being honest was the highest valued quality for workers in the UK (41%) - something many would expect from their bosses. The second most important quality for more than 1 in 3 (35%) British workers is being approachable. Female workers are the most likely to value a boss who is approachable (44%), while male workers covet honesty above anything else (45%).


Of those workers who felt their management should be approachable, only 23% described their bosses this way. An ideal boss would also be fair for almost 1 in 4 (24%) workers and, understandably, a similar number (23%) preferred their manager or boss to be organised.


Another interpersonal quality, which was highly coveted in UK bosses, was sincerity - more than 1 in 5 (21%) felt strongly about this. However, the research found that just 23% felt that their boss was honest - suggesting a major gap in trust in many British companies.


The data also revealed how strong of an impact a positive boss-employee relationship can have, with 1 in 4 workers saying that having a good working relationship with their boss would mean they would be more likely to stay at a company long term (e.g. 5 years or more).


Alan Smith, One4all’s UK MD, said:

"Bosses should take note - as our research has shown, the relationship an employee has with their boss can be really key. Maintaining these relationships and being a good manager is about more than just the finished product, or numbers on a spreadsheet. 


"A good leader inspires workers to want to work hard and has the kind of relationship that means if an employee is having a problem or is unhappy, they will feel comfortable approaching them to discuss it and will have the opportunity to resolve it for the benefit of both the team and the company. Similarly, people also need to be able to be able to place a degree of trust in their boss. Without trust and sincerity, feedback - both good and bad - is unlikely to be believed or taken seriously. 


He continues:

"What I find particularly interesting about these findings is how many of the qualities we look for in an employer mirror those a lot of people would also seek out in new 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. There is so much advice out there about the intricacies of leadership that it can be quite easy to sometimes forget that, ultimately, people want to be managed by trustworthy, approachable and organised human beings."


For more information and to download the One4all Rewards Review of UK Management whitepaper, click here.