Ambitious, authoritative, assertive CEOs 'hold back businesses'

2005

Being ambitious, assertive and authoritative will, as a chief executive, win you plaudits from your shareholders, but are also the most likely character traits to hold a business back, a consultancy has said.

A poll by business development consultants Optima has said that, in fact, employees much prefer their leaders to be people who are willing to nurture, empower and support them, and who are willing to share knowledge and delegate tasks.

And for chief executives frothing at the mouth at such a thought, employees, it appears want managers and bosses who are willing to listen to them and engage in an open and honest dialogue.

The reality though is very different. Nearly a quarter of managers polled said they would not delegate tasks such as the marketing plan, while a third did not believe that they should delegate customer or client relationships, preferring to handle them themselves.

Brian Edwards of Optima said: "Our research show that successful CEOs increasingly need to move away from the individualistic mindset and instead focus on enabling and developing those around them.

"This may be a tough call for traditional hierarchical leaders who are used to operating within a top-down command chain and still suffer from the 'ivory tower syndrome' which can leave them isolated and under-informed," he added.

The poll comes just days after a similar survey highlighted the perils of an unengaged workforce, suggesting that a third of British workers could not care less whether their company succeeds or fails as long as they get their pay cheque at the end of the month.

The study of 15,000 UK workers by consultancy International Survey Research found that while the overwhelming majority – 85 per cent – enjoyed their work, a significant minority felt unengaged and indifferent about their organisation's success.