UK leaders must change attitudes and cultures to help the economy grow, report finds

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Business leaders must change attitudes and cultures within the "core of their organisations", if the UK is going to grow economically and see substantial job creation, according to a report published by professional services firm, Hillcroft House.

It calls on leaders and managers, who want to make a difference, to realise there are many opportunities available to them. And states they need to start "engaging" with the most "creative types" within their organisation.

The report, the good, the bad and the ugly - Leadership into the 3rd decade, is a follow-up to a study published earlier this year, which found many employees suffer from a "culture of fear" due to poor leadership.

Using interviews and case studies from leading names and organisations within business, the report set out to find solutions to this problem.

Helen Gordon, chief executive, Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), believes having the "desire and will" to change your environment is "not enough".

She said: "A sense of urgency exists for change. Certainly we have choices - we can surrender and throw our arms in the air, or we can stop, reflect and take constructive and positive action."

Gordon added: "The solution is to make some positive and much needed changes in the management culture of both the private and public sector."

Steve Melville, general manager, NHS foundation trust, Milton Keynes hospital, thinks managers and leaders are two separate things.

"Managers look to next week and leaders look to the horizon," Melville said. "To face the mass challenges of the world we live in, I believe leadership must encapsulate high levels of communication skills, listening skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to constructively support your team."

He added: "Being able to recognise the potential in your team is essential. Also build a plan of succession and do not fear it."

Danny Sims, managing director at market research agency, DJS Research, said: "Good leadership for me is not only about having exceptionally high levels of self-awareness, but also the ability to apply this knowledge in practice."

The report also interviewed a band 6, NHS junior sister, who wanted to remain anonymous. She highlighted cases of poor leadership within the organisation.

Named in the study as Ms Z, she explained her performance was to be managed for not updating the computer system.

Ms Z claims the performance management approach to get rid of her was a "cover up by management".

She said: "We had a 30% increase of patients in A&E mid-week, staff levels were down and the situation was chaotic. I correctly informed management but no positive action or support was given."

She added: "I have been bullied long enough. I have reminded the management that our hospital is not following any of the recommendations of the Francis Report. It is patients, not numbers that what count.

"Yet at this organisation we have a culture focused on doing the system's business - not that of the patients. If we dare to speak up we face the wrath of management."

The report states if leaders and managers "invoke" their organisation performance management process, they must conduct it in a fair and ethical manner. In particular, they have a responsibility to ensure it is not being used to satisfy internal political agendas.

Managing director, Hillcroft House, Adam Crizzle, said: "Good leadership is fundamentally about self-awareness, that's the key message.

"Unless people understand their own behaviour they can't go around managing other people. As a leader you have to know your own limitations."

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