According to the results of a study from The Work Foundation, it’s a commonplace assumption that powerful leaders with a “controlling and target-driven approach” are essential in tough economic times. However, the report found that leaders need to do quite the opposite and switch to a much more subtle, people-centered approach to leadership.
“The evidence from our research indicates there needs to be a paradigm shift for all leaders who remain focused on numbers and targets,” says Penny Tamkin, lead author of the report. “Outstanding leaders focus on people. Instead of seeing people as one of the many priorities, they put the emphasis on people issues first.”
Such an approach should spell an end to those endless one-to-one meetings centered on tasks, for example, with a manager instead taking time to understand individual staff and what motivates them, she says. Tedious training days should be ditched, with more of a focus on developing staff through challenge and support.
Here are key skills the report uncovered:
- Seeing the bigger picture Outstanding leaders recognize the interconnected nature of their organisations and act accordingly.
- Understanding that talk is work Outstanding leaders talk to staff to find out what motivates them and how they can boost enthusiasm.
- Giving time and space to others Outstanding leaders allow people more freedom and influence over the work they do.
- Growing through performance Outstanding leaders invest in their workforce and use challenges presented to encourage growth, learning and engagement.
- Putting “we” before “me” Outstanding leaders work hard on team spirit, shared decision-making, collaborative working and forming strong bonds between teams.
From: The Work Foundation