Financial services & manufacturing leaders worst in UK

by | Oct 22, 2013



The Financial Services and Manufacturing industries have the weakest leaders in the UK, according to a detailed study released this morning by Head Heart + Brain, a leadership development consultancy.



  • Telecoms leaders are the best bosses in UK
  • 40% of financial services employees say their leaders have put them under a lot of stress in the past 6 months (compared to UK average of 22%)
  • Just 14% of telecoms professionals have been put under a lot of stress by their leader
  • Less than one-third (32%) of UK employees are fully engaged with their job
  • Strong correlation between sectors with poor leadership and sectors where bosses are under a lot pressure
  • The study shows UK leaders are failing to manage change well. Financial services bosses are the worst at managing change – just 11% of financial services employees say their leaders are good at managing change

To gauge the standard of leadership in different industries, Head Heart + Brain commissioned a poll of more than 2,000 people which asked UK workers questions about their bosses based on the key criteria of what makes a good leader.  These criteria are derived from the principles of neuroscience, which shape how effectively people lead in the workplace.  The index measured various factors – from the amount of autonomy employees are given and the clarity and openness of communication about job responsibilities and targets to the quality of feedback and the fairness of leadership.  But by far the most important factor the index analysed was how well leaders help employees understand change – and their part in making it successful.

When Head Heart + Brain asked employees in organisations where some difficult change had occurred over the last six months, “How much does your leader help you understand the change and your role in making it successful?” leaders in the Financial Services sector came out at the bottom of the list – just 11% of employees said their leaders had made a big effort to help them understand the change and their role in making it successful.

Jan Hills, partner at Head Heart + Brain, explains: “The best bosses lead their staff in a ‘brain-savvy’ way, in a manner closely aligned with the way that people’s brains are wired to respond best to leadership.  Neuroscience tells us leaders must follow several golden rules if they are to get the best out of their staff.  Crucially, they must help employees understand why organisational change is good for them.  Fortunately, this research highlights that there are lots of brain-savvy leaders in the UK’s Telecoms sector.  But it also reveals leaders in finance, insurance and accountancy – as well as manufacturing – are managing their employees badly.  That has massive implications for the country – first-class leadership in these sectors is essential if we are to return to the wider economy to full growth.  It’s good news for the future of Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, and Inmarsat – but it’s bad news for the banks, the insurance sector and the UK’s accountants.”

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