Leaders themselves lack confidence in their own leadership capacity, says DDI global survey

David Woods , 13 Jun 2011


Leadership development, processes and practices need radical transformation, if organisations are to meet the increasingly rapid pace of business change, according to DDI’s 6th Global Leadership Forecast, published today.

The forecast, from global talent management company DDI, paints a worrying picture for organisational leadership capacity.

Responses from more than 12,000 organisational leaders and 1,800 HR professionals, across 74 countries, indicate leaders rate themselves poorly, do not possess the skills necessary for business in the future and do not have a sufficient pipeline of talent within their organisation.

Only 38% of leaders themselves, and 36% in the UK, rate their organisation's leadership quality as 'high'.

Their HR peers rate leadership even more poorly, with only 25% of HR professionals stating that their organisational leadership quality is high.

The development leaders receive is also regarded by leaders as ineffective. Only 38% of leaders believe the development they receive is effective and, perhaps most worryingly, globally only 18% (20% in UK) of HR professionals believe their organisation has the leadership bench strength it needs to meet future business challenges.

Steve Newhall, MD at DDI UK, said: "Research from our past two Global Leadership Forecasts shows leadership quality hasn't changed that much over the past six years, despite the estimated £14 billion spent globally each year on leadership development. If organisations are going to have in place the leadership they need, how they find, develop and promote new leaders is going to have to change".

The report also revealed 66% of leaders within organisations who rate their overall leadership quality as high are confident of business success. At the other end of the scale, only 4% of leaders in organisations with low-rated leadership quality are confident of success.

When compared with the competition, leaders in organisations that have highly rated leadership are more effective in many key areas, including financial performance, at 2.8 times more effective; customer satisfaction, at 4.6 times more effective; productivity, at 4.7 times more effective and quality of services, at 4.4 times more effective.

Alarm bells should be ringing in organisations, because leaders themselves say they are not prepared for what they will need to accomplish. In fact, between 50% and 60% of leaders believe they are effective in the skills they identified.

More than 1,800 HR professionals and 12,000 leaders from 2,600 organisations in 74 countries around the world took part in the survey. The survey is taken every two years.


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Very, very scary!

Bay Jordan 13 Jun 2011

These findings are alarming, and seem to point to the ice-berg like nature of a problem where much of the danger has been submerged and so is very unlikely to be being addressed. I don't have any answers either. However, I would question whether this lack of management confidence is a consequence of management expecting to be the ones who have to come up with the answers? If so, then it is both proof that command and control is a long way from being dead and the ultimate argument for it to be replaced ASAP. How can you command if you don't have confidence in your commands and why should the commanded be expected to follow? Despite reading this past week-end that our brain sizes have shrunk in the last 10,000 years, I believe there is still enough intelligence to beat these issues! The sheer increase of numbers would suggest that! However, to utilise this mass of intelligence we to need to engage the entire talent pool and stop looking for the elete to come up with a panacea. Leadership is about energising people and we do that the skills and competencies required will develop, and the organisation will become more of an organism, more responsive, more adaptable and better able to look to its own survival. In which case we need a systemic solution more urgently than we have previously thought!


Jo Moffatt 22 Jun 2012

Sadly not a surprising result. Chimes with Woodreed's just published UK survey where only 19% of line managers were judged to 'lead and inspire'. Given that 'people don't quit their companies, they quit their bosses' then this is seriously hitting bottom lines.

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