leaders perceived as ineffectiveAccording to research from professional-services company Towers Watson, workers’ trust and confidence in U.S. corporate leaders has increased modestly over the past four years, but the number of workers who think top management provides effective leadership overall has slipped. A majority of U.S. employees give leaders high marks for promoting a positive image and understanding what drives success, but just half say leaders inspire employees, understand how their actions impact them, or are open to new ideas.

According to the Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, 55 percent of all U.S. employees surveyed said they have trust and confidence in their senior leaders. That is an increase from 2012, when 49 percent said they had trust and confidence in their senior leaders, and from 47 percent in 2010. The survey also found that 55 percent of the respondents agree their top management provides effective leadership, up slightly from 50 percent of employees who responded that way in 2010. The vast majority (80 percent) believe that their employers promote a positive image of the company, and 68 percent think top leaders display an “appropriate sense of urgency” in accomplishing business goals.

At the same time, about half the respondents agree that leaders are flexible in their approach to new situations (47 percent); are aware of how their actions impact the thoughts and emotions of other workers (52 percent); and inspire employees to give their best (54 percent).

The survey also found that only 41 percent agree that senior management at their organizations do a good job developing future leaders; one of the lowest scores respondents gave when asked to rate the jobs their leaders are doing.

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