Research by the National Business Awards shows that 86% of the UK’s bosses think they are good leaders.
National Business Awards has revealed a white paper study that demonstrates the importance of strong leadership to British businesses. The research shows that both bosses and employees appreciate good leadership, with over 90% of those surveyed saying that it's the most important influence on the success of an organisation. Over 80% of employees agree that having a good leader will have an impact on their own career progression, and they also believe that having a good boss inspires greater loyalty and motivation in them.
"Leadership is important for every business," said Dame Helen Alexander, National Business Awards chair of judges. "Good leadership can inspire a team and therefore the whole organisation. The research shows the importance of strong leadership to employees, with leaders themselves also appreciating how vital it is to success. It's interesting to see that individual employees are motivated by their own success, but bosses see that success as a way of gaining for the whole business."
Good leader, bad leader
Britain's workers believe the top five personality traits of a good leader are honesty, good communication skills, being hardworking, trustworthiness and intelligence, which was similar to those also chosen by bosses. Both groups also said their top business leader of all time was Sir Richard Branson, followed by Bill Gates. When asked to attribute specific traits to top leaders, Branson again shone through coming top for qualities such as good communication skills, competitiveness, confidence and being hardworking, although Lord Sugar came top for his deal-making skills.
Different perspectives around leadership begin to show when questions are asked regarding how good actual bosses are: 86% of bosses think they are good leaders, but a third of workers think their leader is "OK" and a similar number say their leader is "good", with one in 10 rating their boss as "poor".
The top five personality traits of bad leaders according to employees are untrustworthiness, a patronising attitude, poor communication, instilling fear in workers and overconfidence. Leaders themselves rated poor communication, untrustworthiness, instilling fear in workers, indecisiveness and being patronising to staff as the worst traits - the main difference being that workers listed 'overconfidence' as a poor trait, while leaders considered 'indecisiveness' the bigger problem. Employees are much more critical of patronising behaviour, with almost half saying this is something that bad leaders do and more women thinking it's a fault than their male colleagues.
Alan Chambers, former Royal Marine commando, was awarded an MBE for "exceptional leadership in extreme adversity" for his successful unsupported British expedition to the North Pole. He commented: "One style does not fit all situations and teams, but to reduce it to one style or model of leadership is to oversimplify it and will ignite team dynamic complications; this is evident because not every style of leadership fits every personality. Every leader has their own style, but a good leader can adapt dependent on what they see. There is no one holy grail to leadership styles."
The nation's business leaders did point toward altering their leadership style if they thought it would improve business morale and profitability (93%). More than 70% of leaders say they have listened to staff feedback to help improve their leadership style, with 44% going on leadership courses and 39% modelling themselves on, or learning from, other leaders. The majority (85%) of leaders also thought it would inspire them and their team to win an award, like a National Business Award, with the majority of employees agreeing it would be inspiring.
Timing is everything: awards open for entries
The study comes as the 2013 National Business Awards opens for entries to organisations of all sizes from all sectors across the UK. Recognising excellence, innovation and ethics in UK public limited companies, the 12th annual National Business Awards will celebrate a range of achievements through accolades including Leader of the Year, the Leadership Diversity Award and the Smith & Williamson Entrepreneur of the Year.
Organisations from all regions across the UK, from SMEs and social enterprises to FTSE 100s and large family firms, are invited to register for the awards, which have distinguished themselves by the quality of businesses taking part and the robust judging process. Led by Dame Helen Alexander as chair of judges, nearly 100 multidisciplinary CEOs and senior directors participate as judges, bringing their expertise and insight to the three-tier judging process.
To register your interest in the National Business Awards and to see the full white paper visit www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk