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More development for leaders, except at the top – research


Despite public concern at failing leadership at the top of the corporate world, UK business is focusing more attention on the leadership skills of its junior managers than its CEOs, according to research by The Work Foundation.

The survey - Developing Leaders - shows that company directors are the management group least likely to receive leadership development in the next 12 months. They are also the group least likely to have received leadership development over the past two years. Junior managers are almost twice as likely as CEOs to have received leadership development in the past two years, and are more than twice as likely to receive it in the forthcoming year.

And CEOs are only slightly more likely than junior managers to be expected to exhibit leadership qualities in their work even though the way that they motivate and inspire their organisations is crucial to whether an organisation achieves its corporate objectives. Of the 221 organisations interviewed for the study, 78% say that they value and promote leadership, 75% say they believe leadership is essential and 90% say they invest in some form of leadership development. However almost one in five (17%) say that leadership is not valued or promoted within their organisation.

Key findings

- The majority of responding organisations (72%) differentiate between leadership and management. 24% say there is no difference. Larger organisations are more likely to differentiate between the two.

- 78% say that their organisation values and promotes
leadership. 17% say it is not valued or promoted. Again larger organisations are more likely to value and promote leadership.

- 75% say their organisations believe that leadership is
essential. 23% say it is simply good to have. 2% consider it not very important.

- Senior managers are most likely (82%) to be required to
have leadership as a core competency, compared to 60% of CEOs and board members who have it as one of their main competencies.

- 42% of organisations provide leadership training internally, 48% provide it externally.

- Over the last two years, the largest group receiving
leadership training was senior managers (61%), followed by middle managers (55%), team leaders/junior managers (47%), executive team (42%), chief executive/board member (25%). Around 10% of organisations report that no managers have received leadership training in the last two years.

- Leadership skills development over the next year will focus on middle managers (62%), senior managers (58%), team leaders/junior managers (56%), executive team (40%), CEOs/board members (23%).

- The effectiveness of leadership is evaluated by informal
feedback (57%), staff satisfaction surveys (53%), 360 degree feedback (41%), retention levels (31%), upward appraisal (28%), productivity levels (21%) and focus groups (14%).


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