Australian productivity is paying a high price for the anger, anxiety, complacency and lack of motivation resulting from fearful leadership. 

    Fearful leadership is costing Australia $2.3b in productivity, according to the Love Leadership study, commissioned by executive leader, coach, author and speaker Margot Faraci. The survey of nearly 2500 respondents revealed fear is rampant among corporate leaders in the contemporary workplace, with nearly one in three emerging leaders being motivated primarily by fear.

    Productivity can be negatively impacted by fearful leadership in a variety of ways, including anxiety, imposter syndrome, resentment, lack of work-life balance, fear of being wrong, anger, dissociation, pressure to demonstrate value, unwillingness to receive feedback, hesitancy to speak up, complacency and lack of motivation.

    Leaders surveyed in Australia admit to struggling with communication. Two in three attribute leadership failures to poor communication, while only 38 per cent recognise the positive impact open communication will have on the team. On a more positive note, the survey finds clear signs that Australian leaders are actively tackling the issue of fearful leadership, emphasising the importance of a positive work environment and investing in leadership practices to foster personal growth and team cohesion.

    At the forefront of governance

    Join your peers at the 2024 AGS in Melbourne next month.

    Whether you’re a seasoned director or a rising star in the world of governance, the 2024 Australian Governance Summit, 20-21 March, at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, is an unparalleled opportunity to expand your knowledge, network with peers and gain valuable insights into pressing issues.

    Join us in shaping the future of governance through in-depth discussions led by over 40 business leaders and industry experts, including keynote speakers Pacific National chair Catherine Livingstone AO FAICD, ASIC chair Joe Longo, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commissioner Sue Woodward AM, and former NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton FAICD (see our story on page 50).

    ASIC 2024 priorities

    Regulation and enforcement are the key to navigating disruption.

    Cyber resilience has to be a top priority, not just for ASIC, but for every company and every board, ASIC chair Joe Longo told delegates in his keynote address at the regulator’s annual forum. This follows the release of an ASIC report showing a reactive rather than proactive approach to cyber threats as well as failures to protect confidential data and manage supply chain risks.

    “If things go wrong, ASIC will be looking for whether company directors and boards took reasonable steps, and made reasonable investments proportionate to the risks that their business poses, to be prepared for this kind of attack,” said Longo. “And if we have reason to believe those steps were not taken, and directors did not act with reasonable care and diligence, we will act.”

    This article first appeared under the headline 'Don’t Be Afraid’ in the February 2024 issue of Company Director magazine.

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