Workers require more from leaders

Recent research released by Randstad in Australia provided some pointers to how people percieve the behaviours of those in leadership roles.

Randstad’s 2011 World of Work report found nearly half of Australian employees (48%) rate the ability to motivate and inspire as the single most important attribute of a successful leader. However, more than a third (34%) rate their direct managers as poor or average in this capacity.

A convincing 69% of employees say their leaders have adapted well to change in the past 12 months, yet Randstad CEO Fred van der Tang says this is no longer a priority, with only 12% of employees rating the ability to adapt as the most important attribute of a successful leader.

The report highlighted a number of other concerns also. For example 21% of employees felt the ability of leaders to build relationships was critical; while 26% of people didn’t trust those in leadership roles.

As usual with statistics it is important to avoid drawing cause and effect conclusions from single pieces of data. This can create an unbalanced perspective.

The greater challenge is this. How many people consider themselves to be in a leadership role? The correct answer is that everyone has a capacity to provide leadership in different situations. So how many people reading this blog will download the research and look in their own personal leadership mirror.

Many of the desired attributes highlighted in the research can be applied to our everyday behaviours, they are not the sole domain or responsibility of those with leadership titles.

Let’s look at some of the language being used in the report. Motivate and inspire, flexible and adaptable, being a role model, communicate strategic direction and alignment, engage with people and building trusted relationships. These are not just the behaviours of those with titles, they should be the core values and behaviours of each and everyone of us.

Which causes me to ponder. I wonder how often we lay the blame upon poor leaders when it is possible much of the blame could be laid upon our own individual behaviours and our ability to be accountable for our actions?

Those are my thoughts for the day.
John Coxon


About John Coxon

Principal consultant for John Coxon & Associates, a management consultancy working with boards and management teams in healthcare, aged care and not for profit organisations to develop effective strategic planning processes and social enterprise business plans
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