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Is there a leadership crisis in Australia?

leaderCEO’s don’t meet the needs of their employees, according to the Six Degrees Executive survey done recently.

The ‘Future of Leadership in Australia’ report has surveyed over 1,300 leaders in the corporate world.

It has shown a perceived leadership crisis in the country and the significant gaps between how business leaders work and the traits their employees want for a higher up.

“Leadership is fundamentally changing and it has never been more evident. The leader isn’t the smartest person in the room, but hires the smartest people in the room and then provides vision and inspiration,” said Six Degrees Executive CEO Paul Hallam.

“This is confronting for corporate Australia as it means the traditional structures and processes of the past will not serve us in the future. We see this in our work every day. It is no longer enough to appoint leaders who are simply job proficient.

“Technological change, the rising importance of values-based cultures and a different understanding of motivational pressure points mean that leadership styles that worked in the past won’t necessarily work today. Great leaders understand this, and they are constantly looking for new ideas and insights to inform their decision making. Great leader also need to have the emotional intelligence to harness the power of diversity and drive outcomes.”

The recent research has revealed that Australian leaders perform strongest on the traits employees care about the least and rank poorly on the attributes workers value deeply. Attributes that historically may have defined successful leaders, such as work ethic and a track record of success in the company were no longer regarded as indicators of a successful business leader, while preferred traits such as team building and interpersonal communication skills saw current business leaders ranked poorly by respondents, with over a third of the respondents rating their leader’s ‘ability to communicate effectively’ as poor.

“Information flow has changed both upwards downwards and sideways. Transparency has changed. The desire for authenticity by both customers and employees have changed, the expectations around that. So all effective leaders in the modern world are people who listen, process and then paint a vision and desire,” said managing director of Google Australia, Jason Pellegrino.

There are 92 per cent of respondents who do not feel that there is a strong pipeline of leaders in the Australian workplace. While, four in 10 believed their organisation is poorly placed to develop leaders, which shows leadership expectations will continue to stay low without significant changes.

“The formal management controls are dissipating because of the culture push of millennials, because of technology, and therefore the ability for people to be leaders as well as managers right through the organisation becomes increasingly important,” said AFL CEO Gillion McLachlan.

Based on the report, Six Degrees said it shows Aussies’ how strong leadership traits have radically changed over the years and why succeeding in business is not the same thing as being a good business leader.

“The findings of this research wasn’t surprising. People are increasingly looking for purpose and meaning in what they do and a blending of personal and work values. As a career choice, the not-for-profit world is becoming more competitive with the corporate world. The culture of beyondblue combines a business head with community heart, and we’re happy to offer flexibility to secure the right people,” said Georgie Harman, CEO of Beyondblue.

The document also focuses on what business leaders will need to do to remain ahead of the market, such as redefining a ‘test and learn’ approach, better understanding Generation Y employees and building a culture motivated to be the best.

Six Degrees’ report also included interviews from more than 40 of Australia’s top CEOs and executives also included former Swisse CEO Radek Sali and BBC Worldwide Australia & New Zealand COO Fiona Lang.

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