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Canadian Study Reveals Ups and Downs of Leadership

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February 11, 2010

A new Canadian workplace study focusing on leadership reiterates the obvious – when leadership is good, it can be very very good and when it’s bad – watch out.

The study, conducted by Psychometrics Canada, an assessment publisher and consultant for “the development and selection of people in business, government and education,” released its findings this week.

It’s no surprise that the study, which polled 517 human resource professionals across Canada, found poor leadership has negative effects on employee morale, project success and working relationships. The majority of those surveyed (63 percent) saw leaders having a lot of influence over their organization’s success, with only 2.5 percent reporting they have little influence. The most common effects of good leadership, according to the study, are increased motivation (86 percent), improved working relationships (85 percent), higher team performance (81 percent), better solutions to problems (69 percent) and major innovations (42 percent).

Also not surprisingly, that when not properly played out, leadership can have negative effects. Ninety-one percent of the HR professionals who participated in the survey reported they have witnessed good people quitting and a general lack of morale. Eighty-seven percent saw employees’ skills not being utilized and sixty-three percent of those professionals saw staff member feuds develop over poor leadership skills. Seventy-six of those polled said they witnessed a disconnection between the organization’s goals and its employees’ work.

The study also revealed a serious gap between the ratings of importance for these skills and leaders’ current level of effectiveness. While nine out of 10 of the HR professionals polled reported communication as a critical skill, only 28 percent of the respondents rated leaders’ communications skills as effective.

Hopefully, companies and yes, firms, here in the States can learn something from our northern neighbors and take a closer look at their leaders. It may just save your business.

View the whole study here.

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