Welcome to the 2014 Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor (KLCM), exploring the perceptions of over 6,500 people in 13 countries on five continents regarding effective leadership, effective communication and the intrinsic link between the two.
The Global Leadership Crisis Continues … and Damages the Bottom Line
Our third annual KLCM survey shows clearly that a global leadership “crisis” stubbornly persists, as consumers continue to be disillusioned with their leaders. Looking at leaders in business, government, community service, trade/labor unions and the not-for-profit sector, only 22 percent of those surveyed feel leaders are demonstrating effective leadership – down from last year – and even fewer than that are optimistic about seeing any improvement in leadership over the coming year.
The research also finds that open, transparent communication is absolutely critical to effective leadership. It is again the top-ranking attribute, with 74 percent viewing effective communication as very important to great leadership. Yet only 29 percent feel leaders communicate effectively. This gap between expectation and delivery has substantial commercial implications. Indeed, a clear majority of respondents boycotted or bought less from a company during the past 12 months due to poor leadership. Far fewer started buying or purchased more as a result of positive leadership perceptions.
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The Future of Leadership Communication is More “Feminine”
For the first time, KLCM this year examined the question of leadership and gender, revealing one of the defining facets of the new era of leadership communication: a new, more “feminine” leadership communication model. When probing how well the two genders of leaders perform on key leadership attributes, female leaders were seen as markedly better at displaying far more of the attributes deemed important for effective leaders – with women ranking at the top on all except four of the 14 attributes we looked at and on every one of the four attributes deemed most important by the public.
Interestingly, the research also found that, globally, male leaders narrowly edge out their female counterparts – 54 percent to 46 percent – as the gender the world expects to navigate us through the challenges of the next five years.
This is not to say that all future leaders should be women and that men have no place in leadership. Rather, our findings reveal vitally important lessons for leaders of both genders as they continue to grapple with the ongoing leadership crisis.
Some additional key findings from the 2014 Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor include:
- The "Leadership eVangelists" – a specific minority sub-set of consumers identified by the research – have a disproportionate impact on commercial and reputational outcomes. Hiding in plain sight and highly active online, they are likely to be far more supportive from a purchasing perspective than the general population when impressed with leadership and more actively negative when unimpressed.
- Business leaders are again the most admired type of leader, but with just 29 percent believing they lead well. And political leaders continue to come in last on every measure - a staggering 70 percent feel political leaders have fallen short of expectations, and half expect even worse in 2014.
- Europeans lag the rest of the world in their view of leaders, with only 22 percent of Europeans feeling their leaders are effective communicators, 15 percent viewing them as effective leaders and a mere seven percent believing those leaders take appropriate responsibility, according to the new KLCM Global Disillusionment Index.
- Technology is still on top. For the third year in a row, consumers scored the technology sector highest on every single measure, sitting 39 points ahead of any other industry in the new KLCM Global Industry Leadership Index. Banking rounded out the bottom of the pack.
The 2014 KLCM findings underline the importance of the Good Leader Formula developed over the past two years:
Credible Leadership = Open Communication + Decisive Action + Personal Presence