Leadership Forecast Reports Room for Improvement

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

According to The Conference Board CEO Challenge® 2014, issues revolving around human capital continue to be a top challenge for senior execs. When asked about strategies to address the human capital challenge, CEOs ranked providing training and development number 1. 

Most notable, perhaps, is that three of the top 10 strategies CEOs selected to tackle organizational human capital issues relate to leadership: 

  • improve leadership development programs; ranked #5
  • enhance effectiveness of the senior management team; ranked #7
  • improve effectiveness of frontline supervisors and managers; ranked 8. 

DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015, conducted in conjunction with The Conference Board, concurs that leadership is a top challenge. The DDI Forecast report, “CEO’s Top Challenges: Leaders Aren’t Ready,” states: “CEOs know their organizations cannot retain highly engaged, high-performing employees without effective leaders who can manage, coach, develop, and inspire their multigenerational, globally dispersed, and tech-savvy teams.” 

Unfortunately, DDI’s report, “Leadership Outlook: Going Nowhere Fast,” reports that a majority of HR leaders feel that leadership efforts are stalled in their organizations. Only one in four organizations evaluated their overall leader quality as high, the same percentage as the 2011 forecast. In fact, only 37 percent of leaders in the current study rated their organization’s leadership development program as effective, indicating no improvement over the past seven years. The overwhelming majority of leaders are still saying they are not satisfied with their organization’s development offerings. 


What can organizations do? 

More than one-half (52 percent) of the 13,000+ respondents to the Global Leadership Forecast study advocate coaching from current managers, while 40 percent support internal coaching from mentors other than a direct manager. Likewise, 43 percent report that coaching from external coaches and managers is most effective. 

As expected, a majority (60 percent) think that formal training and workshops are effective for developing leadership skills. But the number 1 leadership development method reported most effective is developmental assignments, according to 70 percent of leaders in the study. 

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About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at 

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