Recent leadership research has revealed a disturbing trend, the quality of leaders is barely improving. This is the conclusion of two independent research studies. The World Economic Forum (WEF) report titled “Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015” (pdf) and Development Dimensions International (DDI) report titled “Global Leadership Forecast 2014 | 2015”.
The Challenges of a VUCA World Begin to Bite
A VUCA world is one that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. The World Economic Forum (WEF) report “Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015” and the “Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015” both recognise the challenges a VUCA world places on leaders.
A VUCA world increases the demand for quality leadership. Facing an increasingly VUCA world, society needs strong leaders more than ever. It’s concerning that in such times the quality of leadership is barley improving.
Let’s look these research findings in more detail.
Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015 Findings
The “Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015” published by the World Economic forum, surveyed 1,767 experts about the major trends likely to keep leaders awake at night during 2015.
Lack of leadership came third among the global issues listed, behind deepening income inequality and persistent jobless growth.
Some of the findings relating to the lack of leadership:
- 86% of the respondents strongly agree the world is facing a ‘leadership crisis’.
- 55% of respondents said they do not trust government to be transparent and accountable.
- 58% of respondents had concerns that religious leaders would abuse their positions.
- Four out of the five regions prioritised training, coaching and mentoring as the best way to develop tomorrow’s leaders.
- African respondents also highlighted a need to involve youth more strongly in leadership development.
Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015 Findings
The “Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015” was recently published as a joint effort of Development Dimensions International (DDI) and The Conference Board. The research is based on survey responses from 13,124 leaders; 1,528 global human resource executives; and 2,031 participating organisations.
The Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015 findings:
- 25% of organisations report their leaders are not VUCA-capable.
- The top 20% of organisations performing well financially are three times more likely to have VUCA-capable leaders than the bottom 20 percent.
- 15% of organisations rated their future bench strength as strong.
- One in three organisations are focused on developing their leaders’ ability to foster innovation
- One in five is emphasising development in global leadership.
Leader Quality is Barely Improving
25% of organisations report their leaders are not VUCA-capable.
Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015 findings reveals a lack of improvement in the quality of leaders over the past three years. The reasons seems to be due to ineffective leadership development.
“leadership development efforts have stalled. . . only 37 percent of leaders in the current study rated their organization’s leadership development program as effective, indicating no improvement over the past seven years.”
Only one in four organizations evaluated their overall leader quality as high.
What should leaders be doing as a result of these findings? Here are some recommendations:
- If you don’t already have a robust leadership development program in place. Get one started as soon as possible.
- Review the effectiveness of your existing leadership training and development.
- Assess the extent to which you are developing the skills needed to lead effectively in a VUCA world.
- Expand your focus to included the development of leadership skills across all levels, from executives to frontline employees.
- Get clear on what you’re going to focus on in your personal leadership development journey.
What are your top 3 leadership development goals for the next 90 days?