Leadership Confidence Index 2022: Boost in confidence in business leaders’ capabilities to manage disruption

11 May 2022

Leadership Confidence Index 2022: Boost in confidence in business leaders’ capabilities to manage disruption

New York, NY, May 11, 2022 – Odgers Berndtson, a global executive search firm operating in 33 countries, has found business executives worldwide have more confidence in their company’s leadership than they did two years ago.

Leadership Confidence Index 2022, was conducted in conjunction with research and advisory firm Forrester. The joint Index reveals 42% of business executives across a spectrum of sectors and geographies, are confident their organizations are being led by the right leaders. Two years ago, Odgers Berndtson published its first Leadership Confidence Index, which at the time found just 24% of executives were confident in their company’s leadership.

In the 2022 Index – which surveyed 1,100 executives – the majority of respondents (90%) stated that their organizations had been impacted by disruption while also reporting their organizations experienced growth (71%). The findings indicate the almost doubling in confidence in the past two years is a result of leaders successfully navigating their organizations through the disruption of the pandemic.

The Index also reveals several trends that have played a role in this increased confidence. Technology, the adoption of which grew significantly during the pandemic, is increasingly viewed as an enabler rather than a disruptor. 44% of executives now see it as a disruptive force; a reduction from 62% two years ago.

Strong ESG and I&D became hallmarks of successful organizations during COVID-19, and the Index shows that an overwhelming majority (87%) of executives believe their businesses have made positive changes in these areas. Most (88%) are also confident in their leadership’s ability to keep improving in these areas.    

The majority (79%) of executives also believe the level of disruption will either increase or maintain at the same pace. Of all the C-level positions, the role perceived as the most important in successfully managing this disruption was, categorically (85%), the CEO.

Steve Potter, CEO of Odgers Berndtson U.S., said, “The past two years has proven the critical importance of business leadership. From the moonshot of COVID-19 vaccine development to creating new ways of working and facilitating ESG and purpose within organizations, CEOs, C-suite executives, and boards have navigated uncharted waters, with many inspiring greater confidence than they did two years ago.

That said, the Odgers Berndtson 2022 Leadership Confidence Index also reveals 44% of executives still report low confidence, stating their leaders performed either fair or poorly during the pandemic. This should provide a cautionary tale to all leaders: driving success during disruption requires talent and attracting and retaining the best talent requires confidence in leadership.”

While confidence is much higher than it was two years ago, more disruption is expected and leaders who fall into this 44% bracket are likely to struggle to instil confidence in their teams when the next crisis lands.