Global business leadership faces crisis of confidence

12 Mar 2020

Global business leadership faces crisis of confidence

The Odgers Berndtson Leadership Confidence Index reveals the current state of confidence in business leaders.

The statistic is clear. 88% of businesses agree the accelerating pace of change in the business environment will continue to speed up.

Given the speed, scale and complexity of the changes, how well are those in charge prepared?

As executive search and leadership development specialists, we’re eager to answer those questions. Including one over-riding query: are you confident you have the leadership fit for the future of your organisation?

Introducing the Odgers Berndtson Global Index of Leadership Confidence

In association with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, we surveyed nearly 2000 board members, executives and senior managers from every major market, including many CEOs.

It produced the first-ever Odgers Berndtson Leadership Confidence Index.

The Index reveals that, across the world, only 15% of executives are actually confident in their leaders to deliver.

This clearly leaves a large majority lacking confidence in their leaders, including the all-important CEO.

Talent is critical to future success

One of the key areas where confidence really bottoms out is in the ability to find and keep the right talent to cope. In fact, it was on questions of talent that we saw the lowest overall confidence for all organisations.

Having an adequate pipeline of talent, and effective succession planning were particular low spots.

These results chime with an earlier McKinsey Study that identified similar deficits in leadership and talent.

But what kind of leadership and talent is required? Is it possible to dial up confidence? What makes a confident leader? These were the questions we sought to answer.

The key to confidence in leaders

We used the data from the nearly 2000 respondents to compare confident organisations against the rest, to understand what gives them confidence in their leadership. And a potential competitive advantage.

What we found was that whilst all organisations are challenged by legacy systems and operations, it is the leadership mindset, particularly their vision and preparedness for change, which separates the confident from the less so.

Boards and execs alike want curious leaders with real courage and vision.

What’s more, it’s a leader’s agility, resilience and strategic thinking that are the qualities most in demand.

Confidence boost

So, what do you do if leadership confidence is low in your organisation?

Along with the full results of the survey, the full Odgers Berndtson Leadership Confidence Index includes three clear strategies for unlocking leadership potential and reducing the impact of disruption.

The Odgers Berndtson Executive Search Index also offers insights on the following issues:

  • How the CEO can make or break talent acquisition
  • What is the profile of a ‘confident’ leader?
  • How confidence in leadership is tied to higher revenues
  • Which sectors are most confident (and least)?
  • Why a leader’s track record is no guarantee of future success
  • How leadership is being redefined
  • The keys to securing the right talent
  • The three clear lessons for today’s boards and C-Suite teams

Odgers Berndtson Leadership Confidence Index

Disruption: overcoming leadership's crisis of confidence.

Download report

To view our current, most recent 2022 edition of the Leadership Confidence Index, click here.