New global survey highlights crisis of leadership

April 2013

    New global survey highlights crisis of leadership

    • Open communication, decisive action and personal involvement mark great leaders
    • South Africans place higher value on ethical behavior than global peers

    Leaders in all spheres of society, from business to politics, trade unions and community leaders, face a crisis of confidence as people all over the world expect more from them but lack faith in their ability to deliver.
    Also, personal interaction and the use of traditional media, both print and broadcast, are still the most effective ways to communicate, ranking higher than social media on credibility.

    These are some of the many insightful findings of the second annual Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor (KLCM). The KLCM is a 15 minute global on line survey conducted by leading communications consultancy Ketchum.

    The survey was conducted among 6000 respondents in 12 countries, including South Africa, evenly spread at 500 respondents per country. Other countries include emerging market peers of Brazil India and China; European countries France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom I; the  United States and Canada , as well Singapore and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    Vincent Magwenya, CEO of Magna Carta, which is the exclusive Africa affiliate of Ketchum said “Leadership, or lack of it, has been the most pressing issue in South Africa and the world in the wake of the global recession. A study that assesses people’s attitude towards leadership and communication is both relevant and timely. As Magna Carta, we are excited to be working with Ketchum in bringing out the leadership and communications monitor.”

    Overall the survey found that only 24% of global respondents believed that there is effective leadership in the areas of business, politics, local community and among union leaders.

    The survey shows that politicians who fail to act with long-term interests in mind can learn from business leaders, as 61% of those surveyed globally  see business leaders as focused mainly on the long-term, countering stereotypes that corporations are obsessed with the next quarter’s profits.

    60% of those surveyed believe politicians have a short term focus, while 39% feel business leaders have a short term focus, implying that 61% believe corporate heads have a long term view.

    Business chiefs also come out on top for taking responsibility when things go wrong. Politicians, by contrast, trail behind all other leadership categories on both measures – 60 percent of survey participants view them as short-term focused – suggesting the world of politics has much to learn from the business community.

    Magwenya says Magna Carta is now looking forward to sharing the insight and findings from the survey with its clients to better understand what the findings mean for individual organisations and industries.

    The survey reinforced findings from last year that leadership and communication has an impact on the company’s bottom line, with a significant percentage prepared to stop purchasing a company’s goods as a result of its leadership conduct.

    South Africans hold their business leaders in very high regard. Business leaders (39%) are the most effective category of leader, followed by leaders of non-profit organizations (30%).

    Similarly, forty-two percent of South Africans feel that business leaders are the most effective communicators followed by leaders of non-profit organisations (30%).  Ninety-one percent of South Africans feel effective communication is important to great leadership, higher than the global average (75%) and higher than any other included country.

    South Africans show a higher than average disposition on a number of key areas, 50% of South Africans value ethical behaviour for example, well above the global average. South Africans also show a higher than global average, at 61%, for stopping to purchase a company’s products as a result of leadership conduct.

    More than most countries, South Africa feels that leading by example (81% compared to 65% globally) and communicating in an open and transparent way (80% compared to 66% globally) are important behaviours to be considered an effective leader.

    By far, South Africans view the technology industry (47%) to be the industry demonstrating the most effective leadership, followed by the hotels, leisure and tourism and automotive industries (both at 32%).

    The technology industry is seen as the most global credible communicator in offering great products (and explain technical uses simply) and being led by CEO who are great communicators. This is probably what can be termed the Steve Jobs, for the late Apple founder’s vision and leadership during the Apple revolution over the past decade.

    South Africans think that in 2013 leaders need to be open and honest about the nature and scale of the challenge ahead (70% compared to 59% globally) and provide a clearer overall vision for how economies, businesses and other organisations can survive (55% compared to 50% globally).

    While only 6% of South Africans have more confidence in political leaders looking towards 2013, 27% have more confidence in business leaders.

    The survey found that even in the era of social media, people still value personal interaction above all else as the most credible means of communication from a leader.  This is followed by traditional media platforms of print and broadcast, with social media platforms ranking lower globally.

    South Africa and its emerging market peers  exhibit roughly similar characteristics in many aspects of their view of leadership.  For instance, Africa, South America, China along with the US rate transparent communication higher than Europe.  About 91% of those surveyed in SA value transparency, followed by 83% for China and 81% for South America and the US.

    Brazilians tend to believe in their business leaders more than their global counterparts, at 49% compared to the 34% global average. Chinese consumers believe that business leaders are the most effective leaders (58%), followed by political leaders (49%).This is significantly higher than the global averages of 34% and 21% respectively.

    This general belief in all their leaders is probably a reflection of China’s rise in prosperity over the last two decades combined with the country’s command economy and information control.

    Indians generally view their leaders as more effective than most of their global counterparts. 41 %   (compared to 34% globally) view business leaders as effective, while 35% feel the same about non-profits (compared to 26% globally).

    A finding that will make business leaders think long and hard is that employees are ranked as the most credible source of information for a company. They are followed by analyst and other experts, customers, with the CEO in sixth place on the rankings.

    This underlines that companies must look after their employees and communicate with them effectively in order for the companies story to be carried far and wide with credibility.
    ENDS

    Issued by:Magna Carta Contact
    Person:Hilary Macaulay
    Tel No.:083 628 6405
    Email: hilary@magna-carta.co.za