Global business leaders are over-reliant on a single leadership style, demotivating employees and holding back organizational performance as a result, according to new research from global management consultancy, Hay Group.
The study is based on an analysis of Hay Group’s Styles and Climate data, covering 95,000 leaders in over 2,200 organizations across the world.
The study finds that while good leadership is synonymous with flexibly tailoring the approach to suit the situation, one third (36 per cent) of leaders have mastered none or only one leadership style, compared to a quarter (26 per cent) who are able to adopt a range of four or more styles.
As a result, working environments across the world are suffering, with over half (55 per cent) of leaders creating demotivating climates. By contrast, just 19 per cent of leaders are fostering high-performance workplaces.
In addition, two thirds (66 per cent) of Asian leaders create demotivating climates – the worst of any global region – where just one quarter (24 per cent) have mastered four or more leadership styles. A majority of Asian leaders (48 per cent) have been found to be using the ‘coercive’ style of leadership.
Compared to the global average of 55, leaders in India are far from the ideal workplace environment, with 70 per cent of leaders found creating a demotivating climate for their employees. Both Brazil and China were found to have performed better in this aspect. The research also showed that 2 in every 3 Indian leaders (62 per cent) opt for the ‘coercive’ leadership style, compared to just 37 per cent globally.
Mohinish Sinha comments, “While the ‘coercive’ leadership style works well in a crisis or during a period of significant change, its overuse may lead to an erosion of innovation. It is the ‘coaching’ style of leadership that is most preferred in the Asian context – 81 per cent of the most high-performing organizations had leaders using it as a dominant style. We find a ‘coaching’ leader focuses on building long-term capability, even at the expense of short-term performance.”
The global economic meltdown has radically changed the deal landscape. Research findings from Hay Group reveal that there are several critical success factors for all executives to keep in mind which make the difference between winning and losing in the M&A game.
Whilst the collapse of debt-fuelled financing put the brakes on M&A activity,
the virtual disappearance of private equity investors, reduction of sovereign fund investment and a rush to divest non-core assets to shore up balance sheets, has increased opportunities for strategic M&A investments. And, as always with M&A, the stakes
are high. Has deal-making become a game of Russian roulette for those who pulled
the trigger and chased cheap deals?
This is what led Hay Group to look again at how executives are maximising value from their M&A activities. Are businesses now paying a higher price than they expected? Partnering with merger market, part of the FT Group, we asked global business leaders about their experiences of integrating newly acquired businesses.
Our research revealed that those actually running businesses were not necessarily aligned with shareholders on the rationale of mergers or acquisitions. Whilst half
of respondents said growth was a driver for M&A activity, only four per cent aimed to increase shareholder value through deal-making.
To try and motivate someone by saying, ‘go and read this book’, when they don’t learn that way, is going to be as frustrating for them as it is for you. Especially when you find out later that they can’t do what you expected the book to teach them. However, if you recognize that they need to watch you do something to learn how to do it, then you will organize your time differently to achieve your objectives.
As a leader in a group you need to be aware of your own style too, because it has implications for the impact you make on the team. Without acknowledging your own style you may encourage your team to focus on issues from a certain perspective and miss the opportunities that result from different approaches. A team has a collective learning style all of its own. For example, if you have a group of sales managers who all share a preference for action, they are less likely to stop and think about the underlying framework
and rationale for their actions (with a tendency for headless chicken syndrome!). As their leader, your job is to guide this group and help them to understand the strengths and potential weaknesses or blind spots associated with their learning styles.
Hay Group can help you look at your own learning style and those of your team so you’re better able to tune into the needs of others, to the aims of the group and to the optimal way of using your collective time, resources and capabilities.
The changing face of reward examines how the business drivers of reward are changing due to the impact of the global downturn and other macroeconomic trends in the global economy. The study is based on face-to-face interviews with senior HR specialists from over 230 companies in 29 countries, which collectively manage more than 4.7 million people and generate annual revenue streams of approximately US$4.5 trillion.
Across all sectors and regions, organizations are struggling to re-build profitability following the recession. With revenue growth hard to come by, they are focusing on cost containment and performance improvement as the paths to profit growth. This requires them to balance four, often conflicting, challenges: cost containment, performance improvement, talent engagement and risk management.
In particular, the tension between cost containment and talent engagement was a very strong theme to come out of the research. Organizations are very concerned about retention and motivation, particularly for top performers, high potentials and those with scarce skills. However, the option of paying more for retention or performance is often no longer available and companies are focusing more on intangible rewards (such as motivational leadership, challenging work and career development) to boost engagement.
Nothing stays the same–ever–and your current leaders won’t be around forever. So who are the people who will lead your organization in the future? Having identified them, how do you develop and retain them? Which critical activities will provide the right experience for the fastest growth and development?
Talent Q Dimensions and Elements are unique, online, work-focused psychometric assessments for assessing large talent pools.
Developed by Roger Holdsworth, a pioneer in the field, they measure personality and ability using the latest adaptive testing technology. Talent Q assessments gather data quickly, efficiently and with minimum investment. And they report in ways which can inform a range of talent decisions: screening and selection, matching people to jobs, coaching and development, identifying high potentials, leadership development and team building.
Talent Q’s Dimensions provides a cost-effective way to measure the capability of sales staff, especially when assessing large numbers in revenue-critical roles.
Selecting the best :
Two recent studies demonstrate the contribution that a carefully chosen personality test can make to the tricky business of predicting performance – especially when in-depth assessments of behavior are too difficult or costly to carry out.
Talent Q ran assessments with employees in sales roles – 60 in telecoms and 29 in a pharmaceutical company – and compared the resulting predictions with employees’ actual performance against sales targets.
The test chosen was Dimensions, an online assessment that measures the key, work-related aspects of personality covered by a range of other personality measures. Participants undertook a single assessment that explored how they approached tasks, how they managed relationships and what motivated them.
CEOs at the world’s most successful companies know that they can only safeguard their business’s competitive future if they have the right leaders to develop and implement their strategy. While CEOs know they can also hire external candidates, they also know that the track record of outside hires can be very unpredictable. CEOs and HR Directors from those organizations seen as best by their peers for managing talent, prefer to ensure they develop a good bench-strength of talent from inside their own organizations.
For many years CEOs at the world’s most successful companies – such as GE, P&G, BP – have seen the importance of securing their long term competitive future by investing large amounts of money and time in identifying future leaders. Using a whole battery of assessment techniques and processes they have attempted to recruit the best graduates and to see, early in their careers, which managers had the long term potential to make it to the top: what the British army has called: ‘finding the General’s batten in the knapsack of the new recruits.’
But in recent years CEOs have become more concerned about their more immediate competitive future: do we have the talent and capability to develop and implement the strategies that will enable success in today’s highly competitive and changing business world? Today the pressures for change are greater than ever – from globalization, competition, technology, break through business models – which means that the shelf life of both strategies and leaders can be much shorter.
And here is the CEOs real concern: the ability of leaders to implement one type of strategy may not be the type needed to implement another: the skill sets may be different, the behaviors may be different, the experiences needed may be different. For example those needed to lead a nationally based, fully functional company, operating in a stable competitive and technological environment, will be very different from those needed for a leader in a highly matrixed global organization facing rapid competitive and technological change. But this is the transition many businesses are going through.
Some major companies have responded by throwing out or downgrading their programs for building long term bench- strength because they have lost their confidence in their ability to predict the type of talent needed. But our research shows that it is the companies that can resist this response and combine a focus on both the long term and the short term which have enduring success.