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Sunday, October 17, 2010

UK leaders lag behind in the first global ranking of leadership effectiveness

The leaders of UK organisations are seen as less effective than their counterparts in India, China, Russia, the United States and Germany, according to a worldwide study by the Kenexa Research Institute (KRI).

The Kenexa Research Institute’s 2010 WorkTrends research report, entitled Exploring Leadership and Managerial Effectiveness, identifies what ‘followers’ want from their leaders and managers and it includes a global ranking of leadership effectiveness, showing which countries and industry sectors have the highest-rated leaders.

The study identifies ten ‘drivers’ of effective leadership - the characteristics that followers look for in their leaders. These include the ability to inspire trust and confidence; to value quality and customer service; to be open and communicative; to have a multi-stakeholder perspective, and to hold lower-level managers accountable for being ‘good managers’.

As part of the study, KRI created and applied a Leadership Effectiveness Index, which measures the extent to which employees believe their leaders communicate their vision, handle challenges, value employees, are committed to improving quality and inspire trust. According to this Index, India and China have the world’s most effective leaders.

The UK ranks 17th out of the 21 countries surveyed. The UK Leadership Effectiveness Index score (47%) lags a notable 25 percentage points behind India’s score (72%) and is below the global average score of 55%.

The study shows that, in the UK, effective leaders are mostly found in the manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors. Government and financial services have the lowest rankings of leadership effectiveness.

The research also identifies the key priorities for leadership development. The two most significant are the need to build leadership trust and the need to engage in open, honest, two-way communication.

As well as focusing on leadership, Kenexa has also created a Managerial Effectiveness Index, which measures aspects such as a manager’s performance, their people and work management skills and whether they are trustworthy and inspirational. The results show that, according to employees, the most effective managers are those who are fair, communicative and involving, act as problem-solvers, provide recognition for a job well done, support employee growth and development and in general demonstrate an employee orientation.

Kenexa’s study highlights that effective leadership and management have a positive and significant impact on important financial performance metrics for organisations, such as diluted earnings per share and total shareholder return. They also have a beneficial and substantial influence on employee engagement and on organisational creativity and innovation. The study found that employee engagement levels can be five times higher if your leaders are more effective.


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