The Leadership Cliff: Heads of the Future

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Author: Future Manager Research Center

Now more than ever, the global corporate landscape feels the need to have a strong internal leadership that drives and, at the same time, preserves the interests of the employees. Even more so this need increases in a historical period like the present one in which competition has reached impressive levels and the nature of work is constantly changing. A global study carried out by Oxford Economics and which has covered over 5,500 managers and employees in 27 different countries, provides us with a huge amount of numbers and data with an incredible precision and the picture reconstructed appears somewhat disarming. Executives and employees are surprisingly unbalanced, openly declaring that they do not consider those who are at the top of their companies to be up to the role they hold. In fact, only 44% said they consider their leaders suitable, capable and competent; the rest of the interviewees were rather dubious. By analyzing the study in question more deeply, it can be seen that the investigation wants to open a window on the future of companies, in practice it emerged that more than a third of the workers examined consider their company as lacking in well-established processes and tools useful for talent development. It is therefore believed that many CEOs are making the serious mistake of making short-term plans, neglecting corporate succession planning, thus risking not only to leave the company in the hands of inadequately trained young people, but also to leave them as a legacy of unsolved problems. Let’s give some more data: only 38% of the aforementioned leaders focus on candidates with the so-called “transversal skills” essential for a future boss who wants to build a healthy work environment (such as empathy and decision-making capacity, qualities without which many C -Suite of the future will risk collapsing). So, where will they come from and what will the new leaders be like? Many managers categorically reject the hypothesis of becoming a “top dog” in the future, this is because they realize that it is the current bosses who do not value their leadership skills, indeed they see in them a possible threat if they show great ability to problem solving or knowing how to take reasonable risks. What transpires clearly is that leadership is not as it should be and, in addition, the top management are not caring enough to enhance the new generation. Fortunately, many companies are working hard to fill in the gaps, as building strong leadership requires a focused effort that combines talent development, self-awareness, accountability, and an emphasis on promoting employee loyalty.