The UK’s business leaders are failing to inspire the next generation of
directors and chief executives.
Research by the Institute of Management reveals that more than a third of
all executives and half of junior managers think the quality of leadership in
their organisation is poor.
Few junior managers rate their leaders highly, according to the institute’s
report, Leadership: the Challenge for All, which includes responses from 1,500
More than 50 per cent of managers say the ability to inspire is vital, but
only 11 per cent of respondents think their leaders provide this.
Sir John Egan, chairman of the advisory panel for the research project,
believes employers must become more proactive in developing their leaders.
He said, "Today’s senior people have a new accountability to the people
they lead. Good leadership is not elusive, but many companies have yet to rise
to the challenge of creating programmes of leadership for their managers."
Almost half of executives surveyed say flatter organisational structures and
the resulting lack of career opportunities are the main career barriers.
In organisations where managers believe leadership potential is developed
effectively, nearly 60 per cent of managers rate leadership highly, compared to
only 21 per cent in other firms.
The other most important attributes that executives believe are often
lacking among their leaders are the abilities to provide a vision, look to the
future and handle change.
Mary Chapman, director general of the Institute of Management, said,
"This research reveals a strong consensus about what constitutes good
leadership and gives clear recommendations on how organisations can bring out
the potential of their leaders.
"A significant minority already have an excellent approach to
leadership development, but the challenge is for the majority to recognise and
adopt these good practices."
By Ben Willmott