The state of leadership in Barbados and the region is poor.
That was the conclusion of venture capitalist Scott Hilton-Clarke, the founder and chief executive officer of Inspiration Laboratories, a firm focused on international business development.
Hilton-Clarke told the Virgin Group-led Business is an Adventure leadership conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort this morning that a recent survey by his management consulting firm had found that employees were screaming out for good leadership.
“If I were asked to write a tragedy on the state of leadership, I would focus on development. This area was actually quite sad because as I read the comments and feedback, people are clamouring to be developed and they are being denied, and frankly we are not developing our people appropriately,” he said, adding that “more depressing”, was that many of those surveyed said they were not privy to training opportunities.
Hilton-Clarke said too often leaders had a “my way or the highway mentality”, which was stifling good leadership.
He did not give details of the survey, which he said was conducted anonymously, but said respondents were asked simply to rate their bosses and share the reasons for the scores they gave, adding that they “actually poured their hearts out”.
Likening leadership to a sport, the venture partner at Omnia Ventures, an Abu Dhabi based venture capital and private equity firm, said it was critical that leaders track the performance of their workers if they wanted improved results.
Hilton-Clarke was speaking on The State of Leadership in the Region.
During the event, which was punctuated with short inspirational clips, the large audience had the opportunity to hear from high-ranking officials as they discussed the issue of leadership.
The panel included Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson; Principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau; President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Neal & Massy Trinidad Gervase Warner; Chief Executive Officer of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean Lisandra Rickards and Consultant Gynaecologist and Head of The Barbados Fertility Clinic Dr Juliet Skinner.
The panellists agreed that there was need for more authentic leadership, pointing out that a lot of current leadership styles were based on the way people in the region have been conditioned over the years.
Sir Richard said too many people were operating companies without thinking about what others wanted, adding that a part of good leadership consisted of helping to solve economic, social and environmental issues.
“Once you begin to get the business established, I believe that every single business in the world need to be addressing wider problems. If we leave the problems of the world to governments and the social sector they can do so much but they can’t sort out the world’s problems,” the British business magnate said.
He encouraged people to give others a second chance and “think kindly” of those who failed when they attempted a business venture.