Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

UK businesses say lack of trust in leadership is impacting performance and culture

Think Tank at Hotelympia last week revealed a rise in ‘pretend leaders’

A new Think Tank session held at Hotelympia in London last week, hosted by EP Insights ( and attended by leading CEOS, MDs and entrepreneurs from the hospitality industry as well as leading sports industry professionals from across the country revealed several major issues linked to the ongoing demise in leadership, productivity and culture in businesses today.  Several factors were discussed at the event including a lack of trust in leadership today, the need to move from cost management to greater engagement and the mistakes businesses are making with emerging talent.

The discussion was broad and wide reaching but overall as a result, there was a consensus on several key factors including:

  • To focus on raising the bar on quality and product so that the hospitality industry does stand apart.
  • To look at how sport and the industry can learn from each other and there is a need to learn new ideas in leadership.
  • To look at how sport and the industry can learn from each other and that there is a need to learn new ideas in Leadership & Development (L&D) meaning we need to be broader minded.
  • To focus more on culture and engagement.
  • To look at recruitment differently and to look at talent rather than CVs.

Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Insights commented: “The arguments we heard from leading businesses revealed a genuine opportunity for change if companies understand that need for change and can start to think differently about their customers and their own teams and culture.  Business environments are not in the best of shape right now for several reasons and both social media and education has changed the psychology of the younger emerging talent today (our future leaders) which doesn’t help matters.”

Sheppardson also challenged the idea that trust had broken down in leadership via a mix of increased pressures on the young creating a more guarded approach and an enhanced fear of failure today. 

During the wide-ranging discussion a core element focused on the lack of trust in leaders because it was deemed that this is having the biggest impact on performance and culture today. It was argued that once this is broken it is very hard to repair. Attendees also suggested that there are some leaders who are not really leaders because either they have no real 'followers’, or they are pretend leaders who have been selected to manage. The group questioned: are leaders being forced to respond to KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) and external pressures rather than focus on their customers and play an influential role in the business?