Leadership’s struggle through the recession

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In times of economic turmoil, we are all feeling the pinch of our increasingly tightened belts, even those who are working in positions that are thought to be significantly safer.

In fact, recent statistics collected by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have revealed that business leaders are actually missing adequate leadership skills.

According to the CIPD’s survey, UK Highlights: Global Leadership Forecast, only a third (36%) of UK leaders and one in five (18%) of UK HR professionals rated the quality of leadership as ‘high’ at their own organisations. These figures are unsettling as leaders have admitted lacking the key qualities to encourage success in the workplace.

As we all know, effective leadership in pharma is important to managing a team and achieving success in long-term business strategies, especially as we have now apparently double dipped ourselves in the already soul-destroying recession. It just seems a shame that leaders don’t feel like they are sufficiently trained to be ‘leader of the pack’.

So why are leaders suddenly feeling self-conscious?

Maybe it’s the pressure? I’m sure that everyone has felt a knock of confidence since the recession began. So, leaders must truly feel the blunt of the blow as they try to muster enough poise to carry on and motivate their team. And it’s true. As a figurehead, the leader must represent their employees as one and motivate them through this dark time.

Of course, there remains many talented leaders in the marketplace – both within pharma and outside of it -  but as businesses tighten the purse strings, attracting them against a backdrop of fiscal prudence, is proving challenging. Companies are desperately seeking leaders with innovative ideas for growth – but finding and attracting them is another matter.

Vanessa Robinson, Head of HR Practice Development, CIPD, notes the predicament that we face, as “Leadership development budgets remain tight, particularly in the UK, yet effective leaders make a real difference to the success of organisations.”

So it seems the issue of leadership creates a catch-22 effect as we come to realise the importance and worth of great leadership to encourage business success but also struggle to find the money to fund it. Perhaps ‘speculate to accumulate’ should be our way of thinking when it comes to leadership in future? How would you rate the leadership at your organisation?