Too many entrepreneurs are lacking the leadership skills to take their business to the next level, according to a global survey just released by The Alternative Board.
“When asked how well employees understand their role in leadership’s vision, business owners gave themselves a disappointing C- average,” says Stephen James, Managing Director, The Alternative Board New Zealand.
The survey - which includes entrepreneurs from New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and The United States - found that 46 percent of respondents think accomplishing goals is the most important function of running a company, with just 38 percent placing more importance on providing a vision for their business.
“The most crucial role for leaders is to provide a vision,” James adds.
“Businesses simply carrying out tasks are management, not leadership driven and are less likely to succeed.”
Of the companies that did rate providing a vision as a priority, 7.1 out of 10 leaders admitted needing help communicating it.
Providing a vision and communicating it are effectively twinned, because one without the other has little value,” adds James.
The survey found North American companies put more emphasis on providing a business vision and communicating that to staff, compared to New Zealand and UK businesses which place the greatest weight on getting things done.
Yet contemporary leaders still favour direct communication. When asked how they communicate with employees, the majority of CEOs (61 percent) say they most often speak to their staff face-to-face or in company meetings (27 percent).
By contrast, 9 percent admit to communicating through managers and only 4 percent resort to email as the first line of communication with their staff.
The survey obtained the views of 336 small business owners and CEOs worldwide (roughly 70 percent of whom have companies earning over NZ$1.1 million a year).
Significantly, more than half (55 percent) have been in business for 20 years or more.
A common profile of the modern business leader emerged from The Alternative Board’s study, showing that today’s leaders:
● Take risks: In fact, 90 percent say pursuing opportunities (even those with high levels of risk) is more important than simply reducing risks - a task better suited for traditional managers.
● Seek respect: An overwhelming 65 percent of leaders feel that earning the respect of their team is preferable to being understood (33 percent), liked (3 percent) or feared (0 percent).
● Inspire action: Delegation and talent selection is seen as crucial because 63 percent of the leaders surveyed believe inspiring action is their primary objective with employees, versus the traditional managerial roles of solving problems (16 percent) and coordinating tasks (15 percent).
To read a full review of the survey’s findings and learn more about what they mean for business, click here