ILM calls on businesses to address “leadership lag” post-Brexit

ILM, the ‘leader in leadership’ calls for businesses to boost leadership at all levels of the workplace in its manifesto as research reveals employees lack confidence and inspiration from leaders at work, with UK PLC refocusing on training post-Brexit

Businesses must address the ‘leadership lag’ as a key priority in 2017, in order to boost success as the UK embarks on its post-Brexit journey, according to ILM’s leadership manifesto and research launched today. 

ILM, the leading specialist provider of leadership qualifications in the UK, found that over half of employees (53%) will consider moving jobs unless their organisation changes, suggesting a considerable frustration with current leadership and business structures. In its five point manifesto, ILM urges businesses to stop taking a remedial approach to leadership and instead plan ahead and focus longer term.

The research, which surveyed employers and employees across the UK, also found that 28% of UK workers feel they don’t have a trustworthy and inspirational leader – topping the list of what they lack most at work. Nearly one in four (24%) say that leaders in their organisations make them feel stressed and less than a quarter (23%) would be very likely to recommend their company’s overall leadership.

And it seems that whilst businesses acknowledge the importance of good leadership, they also see room for improvement. With a challenging period of uncertainty ahead, it’s no surprise that having inspirational leaders ranks as the top HR focus for the businesses surveyed, with half (52%) citing this as key priority.

However just 31% of HR professionals feel very confident about their organisation’s supply of leadership talent for the next three to five years.

Leadership at all levels

“Leadership doesn’t just refer to people at the top – and we need to stop thinking of it in this way,” says John Yates, Group Director at ILM. “Many people view leadership as a necessary step in career progression, as opposed to something they want to actively take on. But it’s actually a set of skills that should be learnt from your very first day at work, and honed until your last.”

When asked what changes they’d like to see in their organisation, the top answer given by both employees and employers was to get leaders back on the ‘shop floor’ more often (31% and 37% respectively). This is followed by more investment in training and development. And with 58% of businesses planning to refocus their learning and development activity due to Brexit, UK businesses have a huge opportunity to invest in teams and boost motivation and productivity across the board.

John Yates continues: “With significant changes on the horizon, organisations need to be empowering people at every level with leadership skills if they want to remain competitive. That’s why we’ve launched our manifesto, calling on UK businesses to address this ‘leadership lag’ to help the nation navigate what is set to be a challenging few years ahead.”

ILM’s leadership manifesto urges organisations to:

  1. Recognise that leadership skills are a route to competitive advantage
  2. Look longer term at leadership
  3. Adapt post-Brexit
  4. Develop from the bottom up
  5. Create flexible workplaces

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Notes to editors

For more information, contact Sam Rowe / Emma Popham
0203 434 4302

Lara van den Bogaard, Communications Manager at ILM
020 7294 3062/ 07730 764 867

About ILM

ILM is the leading specialist provider of leadership qualifications in the UK. Over 70,000 ILM qualifications are awarded each year and in the past year alone, ILM has delivered over 14,000 management apprenticeships.

Over one million people hold an ILM qualification and the organisation is dedicated to continuously improving leadership, management and coaching skills - both in the UK and internationally – ensuring businesses and individuals are equipped for the working world now and in the future.

ILM develops qualifications, accredits and assesses training, and provides quality training materials to ensure continual learning development. ILM is a City & Guilds Group Business. All ILM qualifications are awarded by The City and Guilds of London Institute, which was founded in 1878 and is incorporated by Royal Charter.


About the research

ILM surveyed 2000 UK employees in full and part-time work, and 500 UK HR professionals in organisations of 250 people or more. The research was conducted by Censuswide in October 2016.

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