How’s your organisation’s leadership?
That is likely to be anything but an easy question. Especially if you are the organisation’s leader! And it is not made any easier by the fact that leadership is one of those words. You know, one of those "big" words that mean something different to each one of us. A word used to describe a concept that covers a multitude of different qualities, characteristics and capabilities, and that is more often judged by perceptions: by feelings rather than logic.
Even so, it is pretty disturbing to read reports that research by Harvard Business Press indicates that only 31% of global executives are confident that their leaders have the right leadership skills. Initially you might, (in a moment of rare optimism) ask if this could possibly be an indication of unheard of modesty and self-doubt on the part of leaders. Then you think that it is more likely to be directors assessing their own CEO, which is still a depressing thought for it doesn’t say much for the cohesion at the top. Nor does it inspire much confidence if it is a judgment of business leaders generally.
It turns out, however, that they are describing the abstract concept of leadership rather than the personal capabilities and shortcomings of executives. It seems that nearly half (43%) see leadership development as the most significant factor in driving business transformation. Interestingly (and some might say encouragingly), this desire for leadership seems to be directed lower down the organisation and specifically at middle management level. At last the drive for distributed leadership is gathering momentum. If only these people could see the paradox here!