The top three key traits that staff would like to see in their bosses are approachability, good communication skills and supportive behaviour, according to study.

But it appears that many are being disappointed. An online poll of 1,000 UK workers undertaken by ICM on behalf of bank First Direct revealed that a huge 88% felt their manager was uninspiring, only 31% thought they were good leaders and a mere 28% believed they were effective communicators.

First Direct's chief executive Matt Colebrook said: "When it comes to fostering British creativity at work, it seems many managers are holding back the true potential of their staff. More than three quarters of workers (77%) think their boss does not encourage new ideas or allow self-expression."

The problem was that working under a bad boss led to a loss of motivation (47%) and drop in productivity (28%), with 18% of respondents admitting to even taking 'sickies' as an avoidance tactic. To make matters worse, some 15% of employees said that they had been forced to cover up their manager's incompetence at various points, causing one in six to believe that their company had suffered as a result.

The outcome of this situation was that 28% had switched jobs in the past to try and find both a better boss and working environment, 12% had changed careers entirely and one in 20 had become self-employed.

A second study by coaching, consulting and training firm Krauthammer, meanwhile, found that the top two desirable management behaviours were helping staff to problem-solve and being able to admit mistakes.

A massive 95% of employees questioned were keen for their bosses to jointly analyse any problems that they were experiencing when undertaking tasks in order to help them look at the situation in a new light. Unfortunately, only 45% of managers took this approach, while just over a third simply presented their own analysis and expected their staff member to agree.

A further 92% of workers also wanted their bosses to spontaneously admit to any mistakes, but again only 48% tended to do so. A significant minority (28%) simply dismissed the importance of their error, while the rest either admitted a mistake had been made but refused to accept responsibility or they blamed others.

But worryingly, another 36% believed that their managers generally behaved in a way that was penalising or disqualified their views, which resulted in only two out of five personnel being firmly committed to remaining with their employer over the next 12 months.

Ronald Meijers, joint chairman of Krauthammer's executive board, said: "Satisfied employees mean satisfied clients. Satisfied clients mean satisfied shareholders and other stakeholders. This is the logic by which organisational competitiveness can be measured."

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