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Leadership Challenge – CEO Magazine

A landmark study has put a spotlight on Australian workplaces, ultimately making a compelling case for investment in holistic leadership.

The idea that a company’s best asset is its people is not new, but recent research adds weight and hard data to the business case for increasing the investment in well-rounded leaders.

Leadership, Culture and Management Practices of High Performing Workplaces in Australia: The High Performing Workplaces Index is a landmark study involving 77 organisations and over 5,600 employees. It examines how leadership styles and organisational culture are intrinsically linked with workplace performance.

The report was the most comprehensive of its kind since the mid 1990s, and its overall conclusion is unambiguous. Not only does leadership have a profound impact on all areas of an organisation, but robust performance in the black-and-white areas of productivity and profitability goes hand in hand with well-managed intangible assets such as innovation, employee experiences, workplace fairness, and leadership capabilities. Furthermore, organisations that displayed a culture of care and collaboration outperformed those with cultures centred around managerial control.

The research provides hard evidence that attracting and creating quality leaders with a holistic leadership style is well worth the investment. A key finding was that workplaces with well-managed intangible assets achieved profit margins three times those of their lower-performing counterparts and were 12 per cent more productive. For leaders trying to justify to their boards the merits of continual investment in quality leadership, this could be the ammunition they’ve been looking for.

The performance of participating organisations was assessed in six categories, covering intangible assets and productivity and financial outcomes. This assessment was used to determine if they are a High Performing Workplace (HPW) or a Low Performing Workplace (LPW). The study revealed that HPWs consistently manage both their intangible assets and their productivity and profitability better than everyone else.

This insight forces leaders everywhere to ask themselves the question, “Am I managing both the soft and the hard facets of my organisation effectively and am I attracting, nurturing, and retaining quality leadership talent?” If not, you’ve probably only scratched the surface in terms of your organisation’s potential.

As featured in CEO Magazine

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