Research by the Chartered Management Institute and the Department of Trade & Industry found that most IT managers regard their bosses as aloof and uncommunicative.
In a survey of 100 IT managers, 60% said their managing director or chief executive was "locked into an ivory tower" and out of touch with how staff feel.
The Chartered Management Institute said the findings revealed a dearth of inspired leadership at the top of companies.
IT managers said they wanted managing directors and chief executives who could inspire their workforce, demonstrate real confidence and trust in their staff, share their visions, and have respect for employees, colleagues and customers.
However, less than 40% said their leaders regularly displayed these attributes, and only 10% saw the ability to inspire demonstrated at work.
Mary Chapman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said, "Leaders who can show, trust, respect and appreciation are more likely to keep employees motivated."
Less than 20% of IT managers said their bosses had an open-door policy, and only 40% said their bosses took the time to chat with staff.
The majority said they wanted their leaders to share their corporate vision with them, but only 35% said this actually happened. Over 40% said leaders talked more than they listened.
Of the IT managers surveyed, 50% said they wanted leaders who inspired fun and excitement, but only half experienced this at work. Only 44% said that team events or outings were arranged for them, and less than 50% said there was a good "buzz" at work.
Most business leaders keep a tight grip on the reins of IT, the survey found. Only 8% of the IT managers questioned said they had the authority to sign-off projects, and only 16% were given the flexibility to work from home.
However, the research also identified examples of good practice, such as "listening lunches" where the chief executive had a monthly lunch with employees. Some managing directors made a point of publicly acknowledging staff achievements and sending personal thank-yous to individuals.
Also on the positive side 81% of IT managers said they admired their leader's clear standards, ethics and integrity, and 50% praised their leader's determination to achieve business objectives.