Bosses lack key leadership qualities, HR study suggests

Nearly all (94%) HR professionals believe that their senior managers lack essential leadership qualities and require further development, a report by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) has found.

Participants in the ILM survey said that the most important leadership characteristics were emotional intelligence (36%) and the ability to motivate staff (34%).

However, when asked to focus on skills rather than qualities, respondents identified more business-focused attributes. Professional and technical skills were said to be key, followed closely by commercial acumen.

Penny de Valk, chief executive of the ILM, commented: “It is a real concern that such a high proportion of HR professionals believe their senior teams are falling short. This leadership skills gap is holding UK businesses back.

“We need to get better at developing these essential people leadership capabilities, such as the ability to motivate, alongside the ‘harder’ technical, professional and commercial skills.”

The report also found that a quarter (24%) of employers look for candidates who have experienced failure and bounced back from difficult challenges when identifying potential leaders.

The ILM conducted qualitative research among 50 HR professionals from commercial organisations, the majority of which employed more than 1,000 staff.

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