Have you ever run away from your boss to avoid a conversation? You are not alone. 27% of employees in a recent survey said they have done that very thing.
That same report showed that 65% of respondents said they would prefer a new boss over a pay rise, 75% of employees reported that their boss is the worst part of their job, 29% of employees took sick leave without being sick and 30% of employees with bad bosses deliberately slow down their work rate and/or made errors.
We are in a leadership crisis. While these statistics may seem shocking, they make a lot of sense when I reflect on the conversations I have with people. Very rarely do I hear of great leadership but rather, self-serving leaders and stories that make me cringe. Personally I have had so many brilliant leaders so I’ve often wondered where the disconnect is. Here are the three reasons that I believe are contributing to our leadership crisis.
1. Product Matter Experts
We have promoted people to leadership roles based on their technical expertise rather than their leadership skills. While technical skills are important, they are not as important as: the ability to create a good culture, being inspirational, the ability to motivate your team, fostering creativity and cultivating innovation.
2. Lack of Role Models and Knowledge
In larger organisations you see brilliant leadership everywhere you look. Why is that? The answer is that they spend time investing into leadership education. As a result there are better leaders and more role models to for people to follow. In small to medium companies this is not as prevalent given the cost and time commitment of such education. Quality leadership programs cost thousands and are a big time commitment. If we are to move the dial in this space we need to make mentorship and education readily available to this level of organisation. Small and medium organisations represent 98% of all employers in Australia.
3. Unrealistic Expectations on Managers
Leaders are only Human. No matter how strong of a leader you are, you will have times where your response and/or decision is suboptimal. We hold our leaders to a high standard and rightly so, but we also need to realise that they are on a journey and deserve grace as well.
If you are a leader of people in the workplace, you are one of the biggest influences in their daily lives and daily experience. Honour that position by continuing to grow your leadership skills. There is a saying, “good leaders are readers” and I couldn’t agree more.