Study finds 51% of managers are disengaged

Study finds 51% of managers are disengaged

Study finds 51% of managers are disengaged

A new study of 7272 working-age adults has revealed that around half of all workers are unhappy in their jobs – but could disengaged management be to blame?

Researchers found that 51 per cent of managers admitted to feeling disengaged at work and, interestingly, around half of all employees have quit their jobs at some point in their career simply to get away from their boss.

“A common HR theory is that employees don’t quit jobs or companies, they quit managers,” says Sara Sutton Fell, founder of FlexJobs – having a motivated manager is just as important as having a well-trained one.

“Focus some of your retention efforts on helping managers be the kinds of leaders that people want to work hard for,” advises Sutton Fell. “This may be a shift from managing to coaching.”

Just 35% of managers said that they were engaged at work, while 14% admitted to actively switching off at work.

“I'm continually surprised at these numbers – they're a lot lower than they need to be,” said Jim Harter, Gallup's chief scientist of workplace management and well-being. “When managers aren't engaged, it affects their employees, which in turn affects productivity, whether people stay or leave, how often they're absent, and then ultimately productivity.”

He added that considering how much time is spent in the workplace, the results could suggest that work could take a toll on wellbeing.

A 2007 study found that stress at work increases the likelihood of developing depression, anxiety and obesity – and when the cause is a colleague, the likelihood of resignation skyrockets. 

More like this:

Employee motivation: the 7 deadly sins 

Why HR should bring back real lunch breaks

Co-working spaces - the secret to telecommuting success? 


  • Tina 2015-04-16 11:59:55 PM
    I agree a disengaged manager is very problematic to any organization because if they are not motivated how can they be expected to motive their workforces. Accountability and respect are key factors in determining a leaders success. Therefore if managers are role models they will determine the cultural environment that they create and sustain. Disengagement creates disengagement and vice versa.
    I also agree that most people do quit their boss first and then the organization for allowing this behaviour to occur. Often workers look to the manager as an example of future growth, therefore if they are disengaged that means advancement is not that great and we see that it acts to decrease productivity and ambition for growth. And can hurt future succession planning initiatives.
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  • Tina 2015-04-17 12:04:26 AM
    Also in addition, we need to understand why the disengagement is there and what has triggered it. Often just talking and listening has a lot to do with how people perceive advancemnt and whether the manager may feel that they are at a standstill in their growth with the company. Acknowledgement and recognition even at the manager level can act to decrease disengagement and increase motivation and optimism in their future with the organization.
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  • Pooja Pillai 2015-06-15 10:38:39 AM
    A bad manager can pose all kinds of problems to their employees resulting in them not being able to enjoy their work.
    This is where it becomes important for the employees to analyse their manager's attitude and for managers to self-evaluate.
    Here is a quick check-list to help with the same:
    But of cou
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