Wassim Karkabi is the regional practice leader of the industrial sector covering Europe, Middle East and Africa for Stanton Chase, Dubai, and advises companies on leadership issues. He explains some of the problems he sees and the best way to motivate staff.
What is the biggest leadership issue in organisations?
The most prominent problem that most organisations have is that most people in leadership positions are not actually behaving at that level. They tend to operate at a level below. They tend to micromanage and need to find ways to step away from the operational side of the business, I suppose, and to become more strategic and less operational. Alongside this is another issue that a lot of leaders tend to concentrate more on the technical side, rather than the human element, the leadership side, the people management side. The growth, the coaching, the development of the people below you, the succession planning, all of that, that's about leadership.
So how do you fix micromanaging behaviour?
In a lot of cases it's about coaching. Once the behaviours and the implications of the behaviours are brought to the surface, it's pretty much like trying to resolve an addiction. The individual has to first of all come to terms with the fact that he needs to change that behaviour, because if he doesn't there's nothing that a consultant or coach can do without an extensive and a very painful process to try to change that.
A recent survey found that 55 per cent of employees are not actively engaged at work. How do you motivate employees?
You have to have a holistic approach. We don't believe that it's just money or it's just this or that. If you don't have a holistic approach where you don't have the whole set of criteria taken care of, then you're never going to get the formula right. Money is very important, but it's not enough. It's not the only thing that gets things rolling. Involvement and being part of the organisation in an engaging manner where you understand and you communicate and you are communicated with and you take part in the success of the organisation and you actually feel it on a day-to-day basis. We believe that is one of the major elements that drive employee engagement.
Which management style is the most effective - hands on or hands off?
I'm not sure that any extreme works. Hands on meaning more operational and micromanaging and hands off meaning more strategic and more laissez-faire, letting people get along with the job they're supposed to do. There's no right answer to this. It really depends on the organisation. Organisations that don't have a strong operational backbone or a strong technical backbone, where a leader needs to get more involved with the ranks require a more hands-on leader. Where you will find a management team that is stronger … you will find a leader who is less involved.