Leadership expert highlights the cost of deference


As three independent reviews cite excessive deference and hierarchy as key problems damaging the effectiveness of the Bank of England (pictured above), leadership expert Robin Ryde has called for business leaders to think twice about preserving deferential cultures within their organisations.

The issue of deference is a subject that independent consultant Robin, formerly CEO of the UK National School of Government, has researched in depth. Said Robin: “Clearly, governance has failed to evolve sufficiently at the Bank of England, with very real economic impacts. According to these reports, deference and hierarchy are blocking progress. As pointed out in the Financial Times, banker Bill Winters has assessed that that the BoE is too ‘centralised and hierarchical’, the end result being that less senior staff have to water down policy recommendations to please their seniors.”

Concluded Robin: “Systems of deference slow down organisational performance and prevent them from learning. Deference is the enemy of organisational success and it needs to be dismantled so that in its place we can build modern organisations with a new breed of managers and leaders. Without a significant shift away from deference, organisations will struggle to be agile, innovative and ethical.”