Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Leadership Confidence Down Again

Latest news from the March, 2008 leadership pulse work - leadership energy is down and leadership confidence declined yet again -- this is the 5th year in a row that we have seen a decline. Do you think this has anything to do with declines in business? Are you wondering why these leaders are reporting lower confidence levels? The downward sloping line you are viewing is the trend data from 2003. These data are for the overall leadership confidence index, which is composed of answers to six questions. We ask respondents how confident they are in themselves (their own leadership skills), their leadership team overall, the economic conditions for their organization, that they can execute on their firm's vision, that they can change as needed and that they have the right people and skills in their organization to succeed. You may think the latest news of recession is the cause, but if that alone were the issue, then the trend would not be from 2003. There are other big issues at work here. Stay tuned for more ...


Anonymous said...

You know, Lou Gerstner former IBM CEO identified 'urgency' as a major issue in leading change and building an entrepreneurial culture. I imagine that energy and urgency are very closely related. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

It is very disconcerting to see lowering levels of leadership confidence as they are tasked with more and more.

I think some of what I see is based on so much for leaders to attend to and not enough time/energy to complete.

Is there a similar drop in levels for the question on how confident leaders are in themselves with the question on economic conditions for the organization?

I appreciate you keeping the pulse of leadership. As a little side note, I was trained in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and we learned to discern 12 pulses...things are often more complex than they seem.

Unknown said...

I like Gerstner's culture, good example. He used "urgency" to wake IBM up....However, I also think "urgency" should be supported by the right level of energy otherwise the risk is to have stressed managers that take decisions just to press importance and demand notice or attention. Where can I find a more detailed discussion about the lik of these two constructs?
Dino Ruta

Theresa M. Welbourne said...

Thanks for your comments. My first adventures into the world of energy and urgency came from research in the marketing field - I looked at research on protection motivation theory. They talk about how to balance "fear" and "coping" in order to change behavior in a predictable manner. I have a number of articles on the following web site ( under research - articles. I have a paper on the site that refers to "valour" - and it goes over the balance issue. Another approach is by Tony Schwartz; he published a paper in HBR a few issues ago on energy. And Jane Dutton has some work on energy "energizing your workplace" - also Lynda Gratton's book on Hot Spots - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book on Flow - and lastly a favorite of mine "Danger in the comfort zone" by Bardwick.

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