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


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.