Essential pieces of the Productivity Puzzle No 2: Leadership
Improving productivity has become a top priority for the UK. But what are the factors that make the biggest difference? This article from the productivitypuzzle.com website discusses the importance of strong leadership.
Leadership is seen as one of the essential elements for improving productivity.
In Unipart’s research, for example, leadership is identified as one of the distinguishing factors between the very few companies that successfully develop cultures of continuous improvement in productivity and many organisations that fail in their attempts to do so.
Similarly, the LSE has developed a theory called ‘empowering leadership’, which suggested that leaders ho tended to support autonomy also tended to support employee development.
Autonomy support describes leader behaviours that delegate responsibility, coordinate goals and share information, provide efficacy support, encourage employee goal focus, coordinate efforts, inspire, and encourage initiative. The second, development support, describes leader behaviours that mainly provide guidance and where the leader acts as a role model that facilitates observational learning.
Leadership, or the lack of it, has been seen as a major factor in Britain’s failure to motivate staff.
A new survey conducted by Scottish-based Eden Springs, adds further evidence to a growing case that men and women working in the UK lack energy and motivation at work.
The survey asked 500 UK office workers between the ages of 18 and 65 to rate on a scale of 1-10 how motivated and energised they felt during the working week, one being the least and 10 the most.
The survey showed that nearly half of respondents rated their energy and motivation below five.
Eden’s research is one of a number of reports into productivity and motivation in the workplace.
Back in 2013, Bupa ran a similar report which surveyed 5,000 UK workers. With combined economic analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), the survey showed that employer’s failure to unlock employees’ ‘discretionary effort’ is costing UK businesses billions. In fact, a lack of motivation and sub-optimal health cut a potential £6 billion from the economy in 2012, which is equivalent to 0.4% of GDP.
Writing in The Spectator, Sir Roger Carr, chairman of BAE Systems, said that the key factor that has impacted the UK’s renaissance was the attitude of leaders.
“There is now a recognition that we are entitled to nothing: we must strive for everything, and our place in the competitive world can be held only by developing the highest skillset and having a mindset of continuous improvement,” he wrote.
“The way we work together has also changed. Management and unions are now focused on common objectives rather than divisive combat.
“And, importantly, greater capital investment, increased research and development and a return to the belief in training, apprenticeships and lifelong learning have all moved up the agenda.”
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Author: Frank Nigriello
Director of Corporate Affairs at Unipart Group Ltd