UK employees are disheartened that their thirst for innovation isn’t reflected among leadership figures. How can both sides work to resolve this?
It turns out that RADA – the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts – makes as much impact with its views on leadership as its finest alumni make on stage and screen. Part of the famed performance school is devoted specially to the business world, mainly to coach leaders on their body language and public speaking skills. But it also studies a whole series of business trends, and earlier this month it proved that a hotbed of creativity that people don’t usually associate with the cut and thrust of office life can bring some useful insights to the table on where companies may be falling short. Particularly when it comes to something that artists are routinely required to produce: innovation.
In a piercing study of 1,000 UK workplaces, RADA found that 81% of those organisations don’t currently support a culture of experimentation: the essential kindling for innovative behaviour. Indeed, just over one in five employees (21%) in those workplaces said that they didn’t believe senior figures were interested in hearing their ideas. A comparable number (18%) said that even when they did put their ideas forward, those brainwaves were rarely implemented. In the two most painful findings, as many as 16% of staffers said that their senior management teams actively treat new ideas with suspicion and criticism, while 15% believe that their leaders purposely discourage innovation.