Corporate Australia is suffering a leadership crisis that is in danger of becoming entrenched, research suggests, providing crucial insights into how SME leaders can avoid the same fate.
In the Future of Leadership in Australia report, commissioned by executive recruitment firm Six Degrees Executive Australia, CEOs received a very poor overall rating, with a complete misalignment of what current leaders are good at and what people believe leaders should have to be successful.
Team building and interpersonal/communication skills were ranked as the second and third most important traits of good leaders by the 1,300 people surveyed, but our current corporate leaders ranked 10th and 9th respectively in these attributes.
This problem is in danger of becoming entrenched for the foreseeable future, with 40 per cent saying their current organisation is poorly placed to train and develop the next generation of business leaders, and a further 28 per cent ranking their firm’s abilities as average.
Just 8 per cent of those surveyed believe that culturally, Australia encourages the development of great leaders, and the same proportion believe there is a strong pipeline of future leaders.
“Leadership is fundamentally changing and it has never been more evident. The leader isn’t the smartest person in the room, but hires the smartest people in the room and then provides vision and inspiration,” said Six Degrees Executive CEO Paul Hallam.
The results echo the opinion of Harvard Business School Professor Boris Groysberg, who told My Business in an exclusive interview last year that many companies are guilty of promoting people into management positions who simply don’t belong there, or have not been adequately trained in the added responsibilities associated with management.
“They were very good producers, but they don’t know how to manage,” he said.
He said businesses looking to develop strong leaders for the future should encourage employees to become well-rounded in their skills and competencies, rather than becoming a specialist in one particular field, as this creates tunnel vision and limits their scope to see the business as a whole.