Executives see through 'rose-colored glasses' — and employees are skeptical: survey

Executives tend to be overly optimistic, seeing their organization through "rose-colored glasses." This prevents them from seeing how their employees and management teams actually feel about change, according to a recent report from leadership consulting firm Notion Consulting. 

In the third quarter of 2022, Notion surveyed 325 U.S. professionals across 40 industries, including healthcare, about the changing workplace. Their answers were used to compile the 2022 "Change Report." 

The report featured a quote from a healthcare worker: "Please stop always painting such a rosy picture — the messages are dripping in syrupy sweetness and positivity, even the bad news. I would appreciate a straightforward communication of the issue, how it affects employees, and what you're going to do about it."

According to Notion's report, employees and executives rarely see eye to eye when it comes to change. Key findings:

  • Seventy-four percent of executives said they are eager and ready to embrace change, compared with 20 percent of employees. 

  • Eight-seven percent of executives graded their organization's approach to change with an "A" or "B," compared with 53 percent of employees who assigned one of those grades. 

  • Seventy-one percent of executives said their organization does pretty well or extremely well when managing change, compared with 38 percent of employees. 

  • Eighty-nine percent of executives said their organization does pretty well or extremely well when it comes to mitigating the "people effects" of change, compared with 39 percent of employees. 

Notion's report also found that leadership should strive to improve in three areas: transparency, respect and listening.

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