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Toxic Boss? Check Out the UK’s Best Companies for Senior Leadership

Posted by Jill Cotton

Career Trends Expert

Last Updated June 24, 2022

There’s a lot of truth behind the saying ‘employees don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers.’

Glassdoor research found that the quality of senior leadership is one of the most important drivers of employee satisfaction, well above pay and work-life balance.

But how can you determine if a company has great management and which employers are getting it right?

To help, Glassdoor has published a list of the best companies in the UK for senior leadership - and identified the signs of toxic management. 

The 25 companies are ranked on the input of UK-based employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback about their company’s senior leadership, along with insights into their job, work environment and employer over the past year.

“The pandemic tore up the traditional management rules, and it is the leaders who have embraced this change who have seen their companies thrive,” says Lauren Thomas, the Glassdoor Economist who compiled the list. “Inspirational senior leadership is a sign of a united company with an engaged, motivated and happy workforce. The employers on Glassdoor’s list of top companies for senior leadership have fostered a culture of support, friendliness and flexibility and stand out for their transparent approach to management.”

Top 25 UK Companies for Senior Leadership 2022

According to research by Glassdoor's Economic Research team, the best companies in the UK for senior leadership in 2022 are:

Across the approximately 2.2 million employers reviewed on Glassdoor, the average rating for senior leadership is 3.36.

Why is Senior Leadership Important in a Company?

Senior leadership can have many names - executive team, upper management and senior staff are just a few variations that companies may use. But the structure and purpose of this group are often the same; it is a team of individuals generally at the highest level of management at a company who have the day-to-day tasks of managing the business.

A strong senior leadership team is key to the success of a company. The group provides direction and meaning to the business and helps those around them understand the culture, values and goals of the company. They can also boost morale, instil confidence and create a positive work culture.

‘Great’ leadership can be defined in many ways, and without it the overall vision of a company can quickly disappear.

What Makes Good Management?

The key functions of a management team are largely to plan, organise, lead and control. But why are some leaders so much better than others in delivering this?

Well, the effectiveness of any leader is down to their ability to motivate those around them. Great managers help others to meet their goals and thrive in their careers while keeping control over the business and its success.

Management can take lots of different styles but leaders who are successful often share these hallmarks:

  • Creating a culture of transparency that recognises the hard work and success of the team
  • Being able to see the big picture
  • Committed to developing the talent of those around them
  • Never being afraid to learn something new
  • Empathetic to their coworkers
  • Sets clear goals and delegates work effectively
  • Inspires those around them

If you are working towards being a leader, here are the skills you can work on now.

How To Spot Toxic Senior Management

When considering a move to a new company, figuring out what the management is really like can be tricky. Thankfully Glassdoor’s Economic Research team has analysed hundreds of thousands of anonymous employee reviews and can share with you the words that are signals of good and bad leadership.

Workers describe strong management as:

  • Supportive
  • Friendly
  • Approachable
  • Flexible 
  • Dependable

In reviews of weak leadership, employees revealed the following traits: 

  • Bullying
  • Micro-management
  • Rudeness
  • Neglectful
  • Unappreciative
  • Directionless 
  • Disconnection

The research team also found that workers are twice as likely to talk about their company’s leadership when it’s poor. When researching companies, it might be worthwhile digging deeper into the reviews if you see these words. Use Glassdoor to filter reviews by job title, department and /or office location to see whether anything raised by employees is confined to a team or indicative of broader company culture.

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