Less than half of U.S. employees believe top leaders at their company have a sincere interest in employee well-being. And just 45% of employees have trust and confidence in the job being done by their organization’s top leader, according to Willis Towers Watson’s Global Workforce Study.
Generally, top leaders face challenges showing and communicating their efforts on behalf of their employees, says Patrick Kulesa, global research director for Willis Towers Watson. “A lot of leadership behaviors, like strategy, managing costs effectively are diffused,” he says, compared to managers who often have more direct contact with employees.
“Behavior of managers is at the forefront of experience as an employee and is clearer to judge,” Kulesa says.
Managers are the “jewel in the middle of the organization,” he adds. They are responsible for creating results from top leadership as well as managing the staff and goals that will determine employee performance.
In turn, although 81% of employees say their managers treat them with respect, only 46% of employees believe managers have enough time to handle the “people aspect” of the job.
To improve performance management, Kulesa suggests companies “make performance area and manager competencies more explicit; hold managers responsible for communicating to employees, finding their job and making sure the team is working well together.”
With employees favoring managers more than top leaders, universal leadership skills Willis Towers Watson found to benefit company executive performance and employee management at all levels include transparency and authenticity.
For example, transparency allows employees to know more of what is going on within the organization, and authenticity comes from.