CEOs’ lack of engagement may be harmful to British business

A lack of engagement among the country’s bosses may be having a harmful effect on British business.

This is the key finding of a new research report conducted by Ashridge Business School, which interviewed CEOs from across the UK.

Some of those interviewed talked about the culture and system that operates within the nation’s businesses being a barrier to engagement, quoting outdated styles of leadership and the system’s focus on short-term results. Some also believe that hierarchy within organisations prevents honest conversations between employees and management.The report, entitled Engagement through CEO Eyes, was produced on behalf of Engage for Success, a government-sponsored movement on employee engagement.

Ashridge research fellow Amy Armstrong, who undertook the research, says through engagement we can release the potential in all of us at work: “With an estimated £26 billion being lost to the UK economy because of dis-engagement every year, it is critical that our business leaders recognise their role here.”

In the report, current leadership models which value attributes such as control and toughness were described by some CEOs as deficient. Also, some talked about how command and control models of leadership are flawed, as is the all-knowing, all-powerful hero leader. Some called for different ways of leading where people, not just financial results, become the heart of organisational performance, particularly given the differing expectations of a multi-generational workforce.

Ultimately, the report concludes, through engagement there is a better way to work that releases the full capabilities of employees, enabling organisational growth and ultimately economic growth for Britain.

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