The State Of Leadership 2015: Why A New Approach Is In Order


07 May 2015

According to the latest “Workforce 2020” research from Oxford Economics, sponsored by SAP, only 44% of executives believe their leadership teams are capable of driving and effectively managing change. Worse yet, just over 33% claim they are prepared to lead a diverse workforce and drive global growth. And it’s not just the leaders who are hypercritical of the state of leadership today – the majority of their workforce (56%) shares these same negative perceptions.

Where are you getting your next leaders?

In a world of over 7.2 billion people, why can’t companies find a leader with the right skills – such as business acumen, common sense and “right speak” – who will present the company in the best light possible at all times?

ternally developing leadership talent while giving succession planning very little attention. According to Oxford Economics’ research, more than 33% of executives believe that inadequate leadership impedes efforts to build the workforce needed to meet their objectives. However, only 50% indicate that there are well-defined processes and tools in place for developing talent. Even fewer (44%) plan for career advancement of new hires, while only 38% actively seek candidates with “soft” skills such as empathy and decision-making capabilities.
3 ways companies can correct their path and build stronger leadership

Skills and capabilities that support strong leadership need to be trained like a muscle. There needs to be conscious emphasis on talent development, accountability, and nurturing employee engagement and loyalty. More importantly, consistency and self-awareness must be evident every step of the way. Leaders need a mechanism that allows them to review and self-reflect on their own work and decisions, to be constructively critical and honest with themselves, and to learn and do better.

In its recently released Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015, Development Dimensions International shared three potentially game-changing ways that can help leaders become more effective and better prepared to take on the challenges defining their roles, organizations, and industry:

1. Place a greater emphasis on effective interactions. It’s common to have tension between a leader’s role in interacting with and managing employees. However, organizations should buck conventional thinking by tapping into the power of interactions – rather than simply managing employees. Leaders of all levels should be made accountable for exercising their interaction skills as well as getting results. Plus, all selection and promotion decisions need to include valid measurement of those skills.

2. Recognize and attack barriers to creating a learning culture. The most common complaint about learning is that many don’t see the relevance of formal learning and on-the-job opportunities to apply that learning. Organizations can turn this perception around by transforming the daily work environment into a learning culture. By creating training courses that look and feel like the job and making the job like training courses, the link between development programs and organizational strategy becomes clearer. As a result, leaders can convert those newly acquired skills into a sustainable behavior change.

3. Help high potentials reach their potential with high-quality programs. An executive who can provide mentoring to high-potential leaders is an invaluable resource. Close behind is the ability to measure the effectiveness of programs for developing future leadership. But when these two program components are combined, high potentials are able to get an accurate view of the business, learn how to react to certain real-life situations, and understand how they can develop themselves into a well-rounded leader.

Never before has the need for solid business leadership been greater. The increasingly global business landscape and changing nature of work are placing additional pressure on companies to develop and promote leaders who offer a variety of skills and talents. Yet, we still have leaders who are far from adequate. Companies must devote more time, effort, and resources to address the leadership gaps that threaten to derail their organizations. Once the right leadership talent and skills are developed, companies can position themselves to thrive and grow well into the future.


Having the right leadership is just as critical to an organization’s success as the right technology. We invite you to join SAP CEO Bill McDermott, Seth Godin, Rudy Giuliani, and other inspirational speakers by registering for Leadercast Live on May 8th. Purchase your on-demand and in-person tickets today.


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