28 March 2022
Evelyn Verzelen
  • Some context

  • In 2016, Securex organised a study among employees and employers. The most important thing we remembered from this is that the opinion of Belgian employees was diametrically opposed to that of Belgian employers and managers. A few important figures:

    • More than 35% of Belgian employees did not think their manager was a good boss
    • Only 13% of managers did not consider themselves a good boss
    • 82% of managers thought they were inspiring with their vision for the future while only 52% of employees agreed
    • Barely 52% of the employees thought that their manager dared to admit mistakes and weaknesses while 79% of the manager thought they did
    • 85% of supervisors said they showed empathy towards others while only 65% of employees felt this way
    Striking from the study were the benefits of an authentic, vulnerable and empathic leader. Those who said they had a good leader then experienced less stress at work (19 vs 41%), were more satisfied with the organisation (84 vs 36%) and working conditions (81 vs 35%) and felt more competent in their work (82 vs 58%).

    Based on the results of this study, Securex emphasised the fiercely changing role of the manager and the expectations that this brings with it among employees.
  • Year 2022

  • Based on this result, one would expect better figures. However, a study by Halleluja in 2021 showed the opposite. It showed that 51.1% of employees are not convinced of the leadership qualities of their manager. A stark contrast to the 62% of employers who are convinced that people share their vision.

    The two main reasons for this result from the employees are as follows:

    • The Corona crisis and how it has been handled in companies is in first place. 1/3 are dissatisfied with how their manager has handled it. On the other hand, 74.9% of the managers are very positive about it.
    • 59.9% of employees feel that they cannot develop their competencies properly on the work floor. 72.6% of supervisors think otherwise.
  • The Lake Wobegon Effect

  • The above figures clearly show that executives overestimate themselves. We looked for and found an explanation: the Lake Wobegon Effect or "the human tendency to overestimate one's own performance and capabilities in relation to those of others". The effect takes its name from the fictional town of "Lake Wobegon", in the radio series "A Prairie Home Companion" where, according to Garrison Keillor, all children are above average.

    Experiments and surveys of drivers, CEOs, stock market analysts, university students and state education officials, among others, have shown that most of them believe that they possess traits that are better or more desirable than the average.

    The effect has been found repeatedly in many studies and is similar and may be related to intra-group bias and wishful thinking.

  • Important working points

  • The study shows that managers can focus on three important points to boost employee satisfaction.

    1. Give your employees the necessary recognition for performed tasks
    2. Create more pleasant working conditions on the shop floor and in the home office
    3. Ensure better general communication from the management

    Furthermore, as a manager it is important to actively look for feedback so that you get a more realistic picture of your managerial capacities. A mentor can be a good sounding board for this.

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • not or inadequately trained in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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