August 25, 2011

The Current State of Leadership – Research Findings

Development Dimensions International (DDI) a respected, global talent management company recently published their Global Leadership Forecast 2011. This report is one of the largest leadership studies of it’s kind, with more than 2,600 participating organizations. The research provides some interesting perspectives on thecurrent state of leadership and future leadership needs. Specifically, the report looked to uncover the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the overall quality of leadership in organizations today? How does it compare to previous years?
  • Do organizations have a sufficient supply of capable leaders to meet tomorrow’s business challenges?
  • What can HR professionals do to revolutionize the development of their leaders?
  • Is it time to radically innovate not only products and business models, but also the very way we manage?
  • What impact can we have by moving the needle on leadership quality?

The research defined a leaders as “someone who manages the performance or responsibilities of individuals in an organization.

Research Findings

This research study produced interesting findings I have extracted some of the research findings I found interesting, those that stood out and caught my attention.

Effective Leadership Matters

  • The research demonstrated that organizations with the highest quality leaders were 13 times more likely to outperform their competition in key bottom-line metrics such as financial performance, quality of products and services, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.


  • Leaders who reported that their organization’s current leadership quality as poor, only 6% of them were in organizations that outperformed their competition.
  • Organizations with higher quality leadership were up to three times more likely to retain more employees than their competition.

Future Leaders Are Few

  • Only 38% of the 12,423 leaders in the study reported that the quality of leadership in their organization is very good or excellent.
  • According to both leaders and HR professionals, leadership quality was rated highest in North America (52% of leaders and 30% of HR rated it highly) and lowest in Europe and Asia (33% of leaders rated it high, as did only 21% of Asian HR professionals).

Leadership Development Needs

  • Only 33% of leaders and HR professionals rated their leadership development efforts as highly effective.
  • Driving and managing change will remain the number one priority for leaders over the next three years, see illustration below.


  • About 50% of leaders are currently ineffective in the skills critical for the next three years.
  • The most common personality derailers of leaders in their organization were risk aversion, distrust, and approval dependence (58% selected risk aversion and 44% selected distrust and approval dependence).

Leadership Development Effectiveness

  • Only 18% of HR professionals surveyed reported strong bench strength to meet future business needs.
  • Research into the use and effectiveness of leadership development methods is illustrated below.


  • Only 31% of leaders and HR professionals rated the effectiveness of leadership selection as high.
  • Only 26% of organizations have effective programs to ensure smooth leadership transitions.

The Importance of Culture

“Right now, your company has 21st-century, Internet-enabled business processes, mid-20th-century
management processes, all built atop 19th-century management principles.” – Gary Hamel

DDI partnered with Gary Hamel and his Management Lab to identify the key factors that either facilitate or hinder the way in which the work of management is carried out, these are illustrated below.


  • Organizations with effective management cultures were more than 2½ times more likely to have
    highly passionate leaders.

Wrapping Up

I found this report provided interesting insight into the current state of leadership. Within this research report are some insights that will help improve the effectiveness of leadership in your team and organisation, consider the following:

  • Do you have a strategy and plan for improving your organisations leadership effectiveness?
  • What are you doing to improve your ability to drive and manage change?
  • What are you doing to develop future leaders?
  • What is the state of your organisations culture? How are you planning to change it?

1 comment:

Kinh Luan said...

I really liked that. And within the hour I was promised the right textbook within a day and I did get it within a day with no extra charges. I highly recommend it to anyone pursueing an interst in leadership! I recommend buying from these they're awesome. Easy to read.