Senior executives are compromising the productivity of their organisation
by suppressing individuality and taking a highly conventional approach to
leadership, recent research has revealed.
Released last week at the 11th Australian Conference on Culture and
Leadership, the report, Transforming Leadership and Culture: The State of
the Nations, found that 57 per cent of the 4035 senior executives
surveyed had such a negative impact on their staff that they were
compromising the productivity of their organisation.
In what was described as a “leadership clone syndrome”, the research
found that more than a quarter (26 per cent) of managers encourage staff
to fit the “mould” and follow rules, policies and standard procedures,
even at the cost of new ideas and innovation.
“What we have found is that Australian leaders are extremely
conservative and it’s this compliance approach to management that
crushes any spark of creativity or innovation,” said Quentin Jones,
managing director of Human Synergistics, which carried out the study.
“And, quite frankly, to encourage conformity in the current climate is
“This situation is particularly detrimental as we begin the journey to
post-recession recovery, because Australian organisations need to
employ new ways of doing business, which demands innovation. So, if
we have leaders who are crushing this creativity, then they will be left
behind,” he said.
Some of the other worrying leadership findings were: 13 per cent of
leaders drive staff to be oppositional, critical of others to gain status, and
to dismiss good ideas due to minor flaws; 12 per cent champion
perfectionism by asking people to set unrealistically high goals, focus on
unnecessary details over the bigger picture and promoting overtime for
face value, rather than necessity; and 12 cent use power to motivate
people, drive forceful and aggressive behaviour within the team, and build
up power bases through controlling others.