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Leadership report show’s UK organisations ‘could do better’


The blame for poor leadership development can be placed firmly at the door of organisations failing to hold senior managers accountable for it. That was the majority view of those surveyed in the UK for a new Global Leadership Forecast.

Other problems identified by the reserach were the failure of organisations to measure the results of leadership development - and hence learn from mistakes - and a lack of consistency in the way programmes are deployed across locations.

The survey, by business leadership consultancy DDI and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, examined the programmes used to develop leaders. Only 41% of UK managers who replied rated their programmes high quality. Similarly, only 42% of UK leaders stated satisfaction with what their organisations’ offered.

Based on responses from human resource professionals and leaders in the UK, whose opinions were then compared to the total group from 76 countries worldwide, the report found less than half (44%) of UK executives rate other leaders within their organisations as very good or excellent. Although this figure is better than that found in the rest of the world, it clearly demonstrates there is room for improvement in the leadership of UK businesses.

Yet, the majority of UK HR leaders agree that within their companies there is a lot going right, with a strong emphasis on the alignment of leadership development with business priorities as well as performance management (67% and 65% respectively of HR managers agree that this is prevalent within their organisations).

Vanessa Robinson, organisation and resourcing adviser, CIPD, says: “HR professionals have a major role to play in helping leaders and senior managers realise the pivotal role they must play in proactively supporting leadership development activities. As well as acting as role models for those on high potential programmes, they must also play key roles in identifying future leaders. A lot of effort is going into developing leaders, and a lot is going right. But this report shows that when it comes to delivering outcomes from leadership development, UK organisations could do better.”

Compared to the worldwide sample, UK HR managers fed back that a larger proportion of UK organisations (58% compared to 50% globally) had a process for identifying high-potential leaders.

Taken separately, those on high potential leadership programmes were far more satisfied (in the UK 66% reported back as satisfied compared to 34% on a regular leadership development programme). The UK high potentials were also notably more satisfied than the typical high potential in the global sample (55% compared to 37%). This points directly to the fact that UK high potential programmes are more likely to assess their strengths and development needs than were organisations elsewhere in the world (89% of leaders in the UK compared to 71% globally agreed that this was the main factor why the programmes succeeded).

Steve Newhall, European VP, DDI, says: “Identifying the future senior leaders and putting in place an effective programme to develop them is essential for the long term health of any organisation. This is the first stage. Effective measurement and accountability will then ensure programmers deliver the promised results. In the UK, the message seems to be that the effort is there, but we are not yet reaping the rewards”.

Other survey results:

* Only 40% of UK leaders (40% also for global leaders) have a process in place to identify potential multinational leaders

* Only 32% of UK multinational organisations have a process to identify multinational leaders (compared to 29% worldwide)


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