Leader: Cavemen have their place in management

A TOP leadership consultant tells us there are still too many managers and business people who tend to act like cavemen round the boardroom table.

Instinctive "fight or flight" reflexes reach forward from prehistoric times to influence our behaviour towards colleagues. Such, at any rate, is the view of Heather Campbell, a business consultant who has worked with Napier University in Edinburgh on a new course teaching communication skills to latter day Neanderthals. "The inner caveman or woman in us", she says, " is affecting leadership and management styles." This, she argues, results in poor communications and resistance to change.

However, the Cro-Magnon manager may beg to differ. Such firmness relays communication very quickly while effecting change without the tedious business of discussion.

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We are in an age where management is expected to be touchy-feely, high-fiving, spreading warmth and generally attending to staff morale.

Certainly no-one wishes to be chewed to pieces or savaged by a woolly mammoth. But leaders must have some degree of assertion. And there is no overwhelming evidence that such businesses, when they fail, go to the bottom any slower. Is there not more to boardroom success than happy-clappy e-mails?