Good leadership and business success are inextricably linked. It’s fanciful to think that a company can enjoy sustained success without good leadership.
Leaders must lead by example. If employees don’t trust or respect a leader, they won’t be motivated to do their best. Our research, featuring 400,000 employees, shows that one third don’t think that their senior leaders are trusted or respected. A further 27 per cent don’t think senior leaders are leading by example.
This can have major implications for organisational performance. If a leader lacks integrity or isn’t living an organisation’s values, how can they expect their employees to do so?
Employees want to be inspired by leaders but let’s face it, not every CEO is Richard Branson. That doesn’t necessarily matter though. There are different leadership styles – what works for the culture of one organisation, may not fit others.
Good leaders need to be genuine, honest, passionate and ethical. Authenticity is everything – employees will spot a fake. If they are likeable too, that’s great, but it isn’t as important.
How companies act has never been more transparent. Cultural values, social responsibility, ethics and giving back to the community are important for employees. And they are equally important to prospective employees and customers. As the figurehead, a leader must embody the values in order to engage employees and earn trust.
Senior leaders now have a bigger remit and greater responsibility. They need to master all trades being part executive, part politician and part public relations guru. Most of all though, they need to keep it real and lead by example.
Nobody said it was an easy job, but that’s now part of what senior leaders are paid for.