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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Confidence in Leadership

The Korn/Ferry Institute's Confidence in Leadership Index shows that support for CEOs worldwide has inched up over the past year, and that optimism about the direction of leadership is again on the rise. 

The survey of executives from 13 nations also found that those working in the developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China are the most positive about the direction of corporate leadership. Those in United States and the United Kingdom remain the least optimistic.

The study focuses on opinions of global executives about the leadership within their organisations. The analysis revealed interesting trends over the past year. Of six "layers" of corporate leadership (from self-assessed rankings of one's own leadership ability to credibility of the C-suite and board of directors), only CEOs showed quarter-over-quarter improvement. The mean score for CEOs has gained four points, from 67 in Q2 2009, to 71 in Q1 2010.

In addition, data shows wide differences in how executives around the globe feel about the direction of corporate leadership. On a scale from -100 (getting worse) to +100 (getting better), China, India, Brazil and Russia expressed the strongest view that their corporate leadership is improving, posting marks of 53, 52, 44 and 26 respectively against a global mean of 22. The mean scores of Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. were slightly negative: -1, -4 and -5 respectively, representing the bottom three positions.

Globally, the Direction of Leadership index climbed by 3.7 points to 26.3 in Q1 — the high for the last 12 months.

Significant findings from the full-year analysis include:

  • India's executives rank the credibility of its CEOs (81) and the credibility of corporate leadership in general (78) highest among 13 countries in the global sample. The global mean for CEO credibility was 69 and for corporate leadership in general it was 70.
  • Canada (83), Australia (81) and the U.S. (78) are the most trusting of their corporate leaders to adhere to ethical business practices. Japan (59) and Italy (57) fell well below the global average of 70.
  • The ability to deal with business strategy was the factor the surveyed executives found most important.
Significant findings from Q1 2010 include:

  • North American executives continue to rank that region's overall corporate leadership highest for credibility, with a score of 75 on a 100-point scale. Europeans' ranking of their leadership declined by two points, back to its Q1 2009 low of 63. The global average is 70.
  • Every category in the Leadership Trust Index slipped in Q1 2010, and the overall Leadership Trust Index declined by three points to 69.
  • The optimism gap narrowed. North America jumped 10.2 points last quarter on a scale from -100 to +100, but remained the least optimistic region.  Central/South America dropped 5.6 points but remained the most optimistic region.
The Confidence in Leadership Index asks executives in 13 countries questions that produce metrics for: 1) credibility of leadership; 2) trust of leadership; 3) leadership characteristics ("factors"); and 4) direction of leadership. The study has been fielded quarterly since Q2 2009. The Q1 survey was fielded by Braun Research, Inc. Feb. 19-26, 2010.


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