Having been in many leadership positions for a good proportion of my career I understand the pressures and frustration some have and or experiencing.
The notion that is often perpetrated is one of constant good times and high rewards is misguided and misplaced. It is often forgotten about the constant long hours, time away from home, missed family events etc. which is all part landscape one needs to accept when taking up such a position.
In today’s world pressures have increased tremendously with the imperative of achieving results in relatively short timeframes, rapidly changing markets and conditions together with behavioural, motivation shifts of employees all placing quite intolerable pressures on leaders.
Nevertheless if one is to lead this is the price that has to be paid for occupying such a position and a decision every individual has to make. People make such decisions on a variety of reasons: career aspirations, financial, rewards, motivation and in some cases this is purely down to ego and status.
In 2016 we are on the brink of a number of challenges including transformation of our economy from a domestic market to a global one. In just seven years we will see the retirement of a generation, the “Baby Boomers”, and a new set of leaders with a different perspective to the departing ones… The shock of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 has complicated matters in a manner we have never witnessed before in terms of how we manage companies and organisations.
The crisis seems to have robbed us of a number of traditional established norms, such as respect for authority, relationships, confidence and of course trust being by far the biggest casualty.
This is causing people in leadership positions extensive problems of how to regain trust and motivation with their respective workforces, there is very strong evidence to suggest that using existing strategies is not effective and it is urgently required that they are open to a rethink. In modern parlance one would say “They have lost their people” and really are struggling to regain that lost ground. Some organisations have been alert to this change and have begun to work on new strategies, whilst a good number have been very slow to react.
The reasons for this can be many , entrenched views that “the old ways are still the best” and see no reasons to change The individual leaders who are still hold the view that those at the top of the organisational ladder are best placed to make decisions and implement strategy, quite frankly those views will not win the day anymore.
All recent evidence points to the fact we need to make a fundamental change in how we manage our businesses the in future. There is a considerable amount of frustration and dissatisfaction being displayed regarding the relationship between business and people. This is especially significant in the areas of middle management who believe they have been ignored with particular difficulties being experienced in the managing of staff. They are expressing a real drop in their motivation and feel isolated in their abilities to handle such complex problems that are now being encountered.

The reality of the situation leaders are not utilising what are their best assets to turn this situation around, their managers, these are their enablers. If they are equipped with the right tools they are in the position to influence and change mindsets. The voice and the ability of leaders has somewhat been diminished due to the changes and sentiments being heard.
The status quo of times past cannot honestly be retained the world is moving too fast to ignore this fact, is naïve and can be very detrimental to the fortunes of your organisation in the future.

This is not about apportioning blame to leaders as we are all well aware a number of events that have occurred that have been mainly out of their control. It is another matter where we are fully aware that this problem exists and we deliberately ignore it, this is plainly the antithesis of leadership something we constantly talk about but fail to follow through.

The good leaders will recognise it is time for change.

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Ken Wood
People Specialist
24th February 2016