ILM calls on businesses to address leadership lag post Brexit

Less than a third of employees feel they have inspirational and trustworthy leaders, highlighting a leadership lag, a new study reveals.

Businesses must address the leadership lag as a key priority in 2017, in order to boost success as the UK embarks on its post-Brexit journey, according to ILM’s leadership manifesto and research.

ILM, a provider of leadership qualifications in the UK, found that more than half of employees (53 per cent) will consider moving jobs unless their organisation changes, suggesting a considerable frustration with current leadership and business structures.

In its five point manifesto, ILM urges businesses to stop taking a remedial approach to this perceived leadership lag and instead plan ahead and focus longer term.

The research, which surveyed employers and employees across the UK, also finds that 28 per cent of UK workers feel they don’t have a trustworthy and inspirational leader – topping the list of what they lack most at work. Nearly one in four (24 per cent) say that leaders in their organisations make them feel stressed and less than a quarter (23 per cent) would be very likely to recommend their company’s overall leadership.

And it seems that whilst businesses acknowledge the importance of good leadership, they also see room for improvement. With a challenging period of uncertainty ahead, it’s no surprise that having inspirational leaders ranks as the top HR focus for the businesses surveyed, with half (52 per cent) citing this as key priority.

However just 31 per cent of HR professionals feel very confident about their organisation’s supply of leadership talent for the next three to five years.

‘Leadership doesn’t just refer to people at the top – and we need to stop thinking of it in this way,’ says John Yates, group director at ILM.

‘Many people view leadership as a necessary step in career progression, as opposed to something they want to actively take on. But it’s actually a set of skills that should be learnt from your very first day at work, and honed until your last.’

When asked what changes they’d like to see in their organisation, the top answer given by both employees and employers was to get leaders back on the ‘shop floor’ more often (31 per cent and 37 per cent respectively).

This is followed by more investment in training and development. And with 58 per cent of businesses planning to refocus their learning and development activity due to Brexit, UK businesses have a huge opportunity to invest in teams and boost motivation and productivity across the board.

He continues, ‘With what looks to be a challenging year ahead, organisations need to be empowering people at every level to combat leadership lag if they want to remain competitive. That’s why we’ve launched our manifesto, calling on UK businesses to address this ‘leadership lag’ to help the nation navigate what is set to be a challenging few years ahead.’

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