The majority of business leaders are all talk, not enough action, and guilty of putting their own egos first.
Not the most flattering portrait of company bosses, but these are the top-line findings of a leadership survey carried out among 937 HR professionals in public and private sector organisations by Personnel Today in association with business consultancy Square Peg International.
The HR department - and line managers' opinions of it - was the subject of much analysis and debate in our 360-Degree Appraisal of HR survey (Personnel Today, 24 October). But in this issue, it's your turn to let your leaders know what you really think of them.
The depth of the leadership survey results - which we examine in more detail here - could prompt you as HR professionals to reassess the way you develop strategic leadership and planning skills in your organisation.
Planning v execution
First, let's take the 'all talk, no action' claim. When respondents were asked to rate the senior management team in terms of planning a direction and strategy for the organisation, nearly half (44%) said they were good or excellent, while one in five said they were sub-standard or poor. Contrast that with how the management team executes that strategy. Overall, 34% thought senior managers were good or excellent at implementing their strategy, compared with 41% who thought they were average.
But the most revealing results arise from the difference of opinion between HR professionals in low-performing organisations (those who said their organisation's success over the past two years was 'declining' or 'running for cover'), and those in high-performing ones (those who define their organisation's success as 'ballistic' or 'steady').
While two-thirds of respondents from high-performing organisations said their senior management was good or excellent at execution, three-quarters of those from low performers rated their bosses as sub-standard or poor at carrying out their strategy.
Senior teams who are excellent planners are not necessarily good at execution - only 55% said they were excellent at both.
Overall, 42% of respondents said the leadership of their organisation was effective at setting direction, but unsuccessful at impl