The country is experiencing a leadership crisis. Many would agree that the UK is being poorly led and it's creating widespread uncertainty, frustration and anger.
The country is experiencing a leadership crisis. Many would agree that the UK is being poorly led and it's creating widespread uncertainty, frustration and anger. In many ways, the Government is representative of scores of UK businesses across the country in which people in positions of power are simply not ‘leading’ effectively and the impacts are considerable. In fact, according to The O.C. Tanner Institute, 1 in 4 employees do not trust their direct managers, only half say their manager motivates them to do their best work and only 57 per cent have a relationship with their direct manager that makes it easy to go to them with questions or concerns. So why is this?
Simply put, people without the right characteristics and skills are being promoted into management roles and then they are being left, with minimal training, to 'get on with it'.
The secret of a great manager is that they are chosen for the role because they exhibit the ‘right’ values and behaviours. They are then trained on how to lead effectively. This approach of growing and developing leaders is absolutely crucial to success and when done well, it can positively impact all aspects of the company from staff engagement and retention levels through to employee wellbeing.
To grow your leaders effectively, you can’t simply give them an HR-drafted document on conducting annual performance reviews and send them on their way. First and foremost, you must champion the qualities of humility and shared leadership. Gone are the days when power and authority supposedly ‘got things done’. No-one wants a manager who exerts control over them as this leads to alienation and resentment. Instead, leaders must involve their team in decision-making, listen and take on board suggestions and ultimately create a culture of empowerment in which everyone feels that they have a voice and can use it.
It’s also important to teach managers how to be mentors in which the development of others is encouraged and employees’ careers are being driven rather than limited. When a leader is an active mentor, employees feel a 102 per cent increase in motivation levels and perceive their leader 320 per cent more favourably.
Providing managers with recognition training must also be a top priority as recognising others for their efforts and results can turn an average manager into a truly great one. When leaders effectively appreciate and recognise their people, employees have 343 per cent higher odds of believing their leader is a positive role model for their team. So, companies must invest in quality training which covers the why, when and how of effective staff appreciation and recognition.
Furthermore, ensure managers understand that connecting with employees is absolutely key to leadership success. Develop a culture of continuous feedback and teach managers about the value of frequent one-to-ones and how to conduct them for best results. When managers take the time to get to know their reports on a personal level using formal catch-ups and more casual get-togethers, this elevates the employee experience ensuring staff feel valued and a greater sense of belonging.
It should never be assumed that a person who excels at an individual level would make a good manager, and yet ‘star performers’ are all too often promoted and then left alone to navigate the hurdles of management. Tomorrow’s leaders must be chosen wisely and then given the appropriate knowledge and training to allow them to excel. It’s those managers who learn to embrace the qualities of humility and advocacy, understand the importance of recognition and create positive employee relationships who will become the next generation of inspirational leaders.