Middle East leadership that works

Setting up for success and unleashing performance

Setting up for Success

  • Creating a motivating climate at work can add as much as 30 per cent to a company’s bottom line
  • Over 85 per cent of Middle Eastern leaders who create a high performance climate flex their leadership style for different situations
  • 62 per cent of leaders in the region are creating a demotivating climate for employees

A study by global management consultancy, Hay Group of over 500 leaders and 2000 of their direct reports shows that Middle Eastern leaders are not creating the best climate for success. Only 16 per cent of leaders in the Middle East are creating a high performance climate and, 62 per cent are having a negative impact on the climate of those they manage.

The results show there is a clear over reliance on a command and control leadership style with 70 per cent of Middle Eastern leaders using this as a dominant style. Leaders who solely use this coercive style have only a 3.5 per cent chance of creating a high performance climate. The research was based on a gap analysis of employees’ ideal working climate and the climate they were actually experiencing day to day. The research found that Middle Eastern organisations are sitting on substantial reserves of efficiency and productivity that they have yet to set free from their employees.

Despite great steps forward, many have are missing the opportunity to get a better return on one of their biggest investments- their people. Effective leadership really matters in a downturn. In good times financial results and reward can be motivation enough, but when results are uninspiring, employees need something more. They need a working environment that inspires their individual effort and team commitment and a climate that drives performance.

Unlocking employee potential
Through more than years research Hay Group has identified the six leadership styles that have the biggest impact on team climate – Coercive, Authoritative, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting, Coaching. The more of these leadership styles a leader has in their repertoire, the better climate they create within their team. The research shows that the vast majority of leaders creating de-motivating climates were only using two or fewer styles of leadership. By contrast the majority of leaders creating high-performance climates were consistently using three or more leadership styles. Those who are successful in creating a motivating, engaging climate where people perform well can improve the organisation’s bottom line by 30 per cent.

But while using a mixture of styles is important, our research shows that there is one style that, when added to a manager’s repertoire, is more likely to lead to effective management - the authoritative style. Leaders who use the authoritative style move people towards shared outcomes through empathy and clarity. The data we have collected shows that the authoritative leadership style greatly increases the likelihood of creating a motivating climate, and consequently high performance in organisations in the Middle East. Over two-thirds of leaders in the region who create high performance climates use the authoritative style.

A plan for creating change
Mark Williams, regional director of Leadership & Talent at Hay Group said, “The climate created by a manager is the single most important factor in determining employee engagement, which in effect means effort and performance” He added, “Many organisations in the Middle East have ridden the crest of an economic wave over the past few years. With tougher times ahead, leadership capability in the region will be tested. Organisations that equip their leaders with the skills to lead differently in different situations will survive a downturn and when the upturn comes, be positioned for success.”


For further information
Jo Rogers
T: +971 4 705 9537
M: +971 50 554 1663
E: jo_rogers@haygroup.com

Note(s) to editors

The data covers 475 leaders and over 2000 of their direct reports. The findings are drawn from of two tried and tested Hay Group methodologies:Inventory of Leadership Styles (ILS) Leaders were asked to complete our Inventory of Leadership styles, to show which styles of leadership they think they use. Their direct reports completed the ILS by answering questions about which leadership styles they saw their managers using. Organisational Climate Survey (OCS) Leaders' direct reports completed the OCS. This involved answering questions on the extent to which the leader is providing an enabling and motivating working environment.

The results are broken down into 6 areas that have been proven to have the biggest impact on employee enablement. Flexibility, Responsibility, Standards, Rewards, Clarity and Team Commitment.The sample includes both ex pat workers and nationals of Middle East countries. In the report of findings we deliberately do not differentiate between these 2 groups as we want to answer the question 'what leadership works in the Middle East?’ rather than 'how do Arabs lead, or how do you lead Arabs’. The sample includes both Middle Eastern based companies and multinationals. The split is 70% Middle East HQ’d and 30% multinational organisations with operations in the Middle East region. Leadership styles* More on leadership styles is available on P6 of the accompanying whitepaper ‘Lift Off’

About Hay Group
Hay Group is a global consulting firm that works with leaders to turn strategies into reality. We develop talent, organise people to be more effective, and motivate them to perform at their best. With 85 offices in 47 countries, we work with over 7,000 clients across the world. Our clients are from the public and private sector, across every major industry, and represent diverse business challenges. Our focus is on making change happen and helping organizations realise their potential.For more information, please visit www.haygroup.com