A recent study revealed that 40% of UK workers would describe themselves as dissatisfied with the quality of the leadership within their workplace. Nearly 15% of employees also expressed concern that their manager ‘hardly’ knows them as a person.

Employees also expressed unhappiness with their workplace for much deeper and concerning reasons, which include 44% of people feeling uncomfortable and a further 28% feeling unsafe whilst at work.

Almost half of all the UK respondents noted that alongside a lack of understanding, feeling uncomfortable in the workplace is due to stress, poor relationships with other colleagues and a bad working environment are also driving discontent within the workplace.

With this information, it is clear that workplace leadership needs to rapidly improve in order to increase employee happiness, drive staff retention and build a more productive workforce.

Good manners

As simple and obvious as it may be, one of the key gripes for employees is working with leaders who do not have good, basic manners. Good manners can be the core difference between an ineffective or effective leader, regardless of skillset or years in the 'biz'. Staff engagement has long been pegged as a cornerstone of effective leadership, forming the basis for a healthy and productive workplace, however, manners and common courtesy rarely get a look in.

Speak to employees in almost any industry and they will typically all say the same thing; a manager with poor manners is no leader. They will often lose respect quickly and struggle to control their team which will result in a lower output. Making a demand, instructing others without the proper etiquette or just downright speaking to a colleague with a lack of respect, is a quick way for any leader to land themselves with resentment and a team which could potentially mirror their poor behaviours.

Workplace leadership training can instil proper values and effective negotiation skills into managers, ensuring that they understand the optimum way to behave in order to get the most out of their employees and build a productive workplace.

Mental health

There are now more employees than ever, across all industries, living with mental health conditions, including the likes of depression, anxiety and stress. Employees have noted that they feel uncomfortable discussing their mental health with senior staff and furthermore, their management often aren't able to recognise the signs and signals of a mental health condition, making it even harder for employees to make them understand.

Living with the likes of depression or anxiety can drastically affect an individuals wellbeing, personal relationships, productivity and career, which should, therefore, be a huge red flag for leaders to really pay attention and put in the time to learn about these debilitating conditions and set out to support individuals who have them.

Job stress can result in employees failing to be able to effectively demonstrate their value. Workplace leadership should aim to create a support system that allows employees to express any problems they may be experiencing and feel confident that the company can make appropriate allowances to ensure that they can recover and are able to take sufficient amount of care of themselves.

Employee happiness

Overall, employee happiness may have historically not been so highly valued by companies, however, many are now realising that mental wellbeing and overall happiness can lead to increased productivity within the workplace. It can also result in better staff retention and can encourage employees to work smarter and more efficiently due to increased satisfaction. Workplace leadership must be one of the key drivers in ensuring employee happiness, implementing a workplace support system alongside feeding back to senior management and recommending further changes where employee happiness is low or depreciating.