UK leaders lag behind in the first global ranking of leadership effectiveness
UK leaders lag behind in the first global ranking of leadership effectiveness, claims Kenexa Research InstituteIndia has the worlds most effective business leaders, according to their followers the UK ranks 17th out of the 21 countries surveyed 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), a division of Kenexa (Nasdaq: KNXA), a global provider of business solutions for human resources.The Kenexa Research Institutes 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. Developed from a survey of more than 29,000 employees in 21 countries, it identifies the key priorities for leadership development and gives practical advice on how leaders can improve their effectiveness, build trust, open up lines of communication, collect and utilise employee ideas, lead fairly and solve problems quickly.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 worlds 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 Indias score (72%) and is below the global average score of 55%.We all want the same things from our leaders, said Jack Wiley, executive director of the Kenexa Research Institute. According to our ranking, UK leaders lag behind in displaying the necessary characteristics and behaviours. For their own effectiveness - and for the sake of their organisations and the economy - UK leaders should look in the mirror, evaluate their own practices and commit to personal improvement. At the same time, UK organisations should review the approaches they use to recruit and develop their leaders.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.Great leadership is clearly evident in certain industry sectors, said Jack Wiley. The low-ranking sectors should be looking at what the higher ranking sectors are doing in terms of recruiting and developing their leadership talent. There are lessons to be learned there.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.The abilities to inspire trust and to remain trustworthy are essential qualities for any leader, said Jack Wiley. We found that certain actions and behaviours are important for developing leadership trust. These include working ethically and with integrity, supporting whistleblowers, walking the walk and giving credit where it is due. Theres also a need to communicate openly, to listen and to remain approachable. Direct reports need to feel safe enough to tell their leader the truth.As well as focusing on leadership, Kenexa has also created a Managerial Effectiveness Index, which measures aspects such as a managers 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.Any organisation can ultimately expand its pool of potential leaders by focusing on improving the skills of its managers, said Jack Wiley. Managers should be encouraged to show empathy and to care about the careers of those in their team and their overall well-being.Kenexas 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.When employees rate their leaders as effective, our study shows that their employee engagement index score is 91%, whereas, typically, it is only 17% for employees who view their leaders as neutral or ineffective, said Jack Wiley. In other words, employee engagement levels can be five times higher if your leaders are more effective.