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Is your management style de-motivating your top performers?

A new poll of young professionals by Lightbulb Leadership Solutions suggests that traditional management and outdated leadership styles are eroding confidence and impacting performance.

This follows a series of online events hosted by Lightbulb Managing Director, Fiona McKay, through lockdown where she discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and leadership. She recently polled young professionals since restrictions have been eased to gauge their views.

Fear of redundancy was pinpointed as the biggest challenge impacting performance, with 50% singling it out in July compared to 33% at the beginning of lockdown. This is exacerbated by a perceived lack of trust from managers, with employees suggesting lockdown one-to-ones were being used to “catch out” rather than “catch up”.

“It’s the end of an era for traditional leadership and management,” Fiona observed. “This obstinate focus on numbers at the expense of real human interaction has run its course. Today, leaders need to be nurturing a coaching culture, centred around quality feedback, which empowers employees to solve problems themselves.

“We are also seeing major investors basing their decisions for capital injection and acquisitions on how businesses have dealt with lockdown and whether leaders possess the modern skills to achieve high performance and growth in the future.”

Fiona also observes that millennials are not only becoming more fearful about the future but are becoming more selective about the organisations they work for. “The fear of redundancy has understandably spiked during the pandemic. Leaders need to find ways of alleviating these fears because scared employees do not perform well.” Leadership, business behaviours and line management capability came up as the biggest challenges in the firm’s pre- and post-lockdown polls.

“Businesses know that something needs to change, and the challenge now is to help them improve their leadership practice to improve performance and, along the way, alleviate the fears so many amongst the workforce are experiencing. Failure to do so will undoubtedly contribute to the real risk of a lost generation of talent.”

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