By Gareth Chick, director of leadership consultancy Spring Partnerships

The new CIPD report out this week which highlighted that three quarters of employees think their bosses lack leadership and management skills is sadly not a surprise.

This tough and high pressured trading environment has led to many leaders taking their eye off the ball. Many have neglected the development on their people to focus on immediate business pressures. Consequently — their teams have been left without direction and any clear goals — a cardinal sin in leadership.

It also seems that leaders are deluded about their performance. 80% of managers think their employees are satisfied with them as a leader, however, just 58% of employees agree. This is a major disconnect. Under pressure, leaders tend to resort to controlling behaviour so long term planning and a focus on people goes out the window. But it is clear that leaders need to rethink both their leadership style and the impact it has on their employees.

They need to recognise their controlling behaviour is making the situation worse; yes people in the business need to be out of their comfort zone but it needs to feel exciting rather than scary and they need direction and development.

Then they need to change the way they behave. If they are feeling the pressure, they must never show it. Good leadership is about putting the people in the business first and prioritising them over any problem. This means recognising that a problem is just today’s issue and the people are the business - they matter more. And, whilst their job is tough, they are being paid well.

Additionally, leaders need to demonstrate the right way to behave at all times and teach people around them their ethics, values and demonstrate their integrity. They need to remind everyone of the mission, values and goals of the business and communicate these at all times. They should be evangelists and ensure everyone in the company is clear on their purpose, their role and the business goals and are working together to achieve them.

Gareth’s top tips for people to become great leaders are:

- Act like you just took over
- Trust employees with the truth
- Set audacious goals
- Give creative space, but insist on decisions
- Don’t rescue people from events
- Stamp out ‘them and us’
- Honour the roots of the business
- Be radical, act swiftly
- Be decisive
- Be passionate, enthusiastic, proud - BELIEVE

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