In an episode of the popular television show The Office, Michael Scott says, “People say I am the best boss: ‘You’re hilarious, and you get the best out of us’.”
If it were only that simple. Unfortunately, it takes a good deal more than being hilarious to be a great boss.
The late Peter Drucker got it right when he said, “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results.”
At CCL, we too define leadership in terms of outcomes — what leadership brings about. It involves what the leader and followers have done to set direction, to achieve alignment, and to inspire commitment.
Regional Reports: Competencies Needed by Leaders around the Globe
For appropriate outcomes to happen, managers must be equipped with the right leader competencies.
But how do we determine the specific strengths needed to succeed in today’s workplace? How do we know where leaders already excel and what competencies they need to develop?
Those of us in CCL’s Leadership Insights and Analytics group use big data to uncover these types of insights and to design programs that are relevant, useful, and impactful. One important resource is data from CCL’s flagship 360° assessment tool, Benchmarks® for Managers.
Benchmarks data shows what bosses identify as the most important competencies for success in their organizations, as well as how effective their leaders are at these crucial competencies.
By exploring Benchmarks data in the aggregate, we’ve been able to uncover regional and global insights we believe can help organizations unlock the potential of their leaders.
We’ve grouped this information into brief trend reports in infographic format for Africa, Asia-Pacific, Australia, Canada, China, Europe, India, Latin America, Russia, Singapore, and the United States that we will release in the coming weeks.
These reports will provide an overview of the key competencies required for leaders to be successful in each region, along with the capability gaps that will likely need to be addressed. The series will culminate with a summary of world trends that will highlight the similarities and differences among regions.
The top 2 most important competencies in Australia are people-focused: Building Collaborative Relationships and Leading Employees. And only 55% were rated “at least proficient” in Building Collaborative Relationships; only 42% in Leading Employees. Building Collaborative Relationships is focused on growing productive working relationships with coworkers and external parties. Leading Employees deals with attracting, motivating, and developing employees. Given that 2/3 of leaders in Australia are “at least proficient” in Taking Initiative, we recommend that they re-focus some of their attention on those they work with and manage. Research has shown that more interpersonal savvy leaders cultivate higher performance teams. View the Australian Leadership Trend Report.
Leading Employees is the most important competency in Russia, yet it was the lowest rated competency; only 45% of leaders in Russia were rated “at least proficient.” Leading Employees involves attracting, motivating, and developing employees. Even if leaders show high levels of Strategic Perspective and Taking Initiative, leaders will find it very difficult to maximize their impact on the organization without a strong team. Such leaders may be highly motivated, and have great ideas for how the organization can succeed, but without a strong and motivated team – executing the vision will be very challenging. View the Russian Leadership Trend Report.
Leaders in Canada are proficient in several important areas (Building Collaborative Relationships, Strategic Perspective, Taking Initiative, Participative Management), but not so proficient in Leading Employees and Change Management. Leading Employees is an important, basic leader competency that involves attracting, motivating, and developing employees, yet it was the lowest rated competency in Canada. Though Leading Employees includes Participative Management, it is a broader competency that also focuses on recruiting talented employees, providing challenging development opportunities, and rewarding hard work among other key duties. Canadian leaders should consider focusing more of their time and attention on these latter areas. Change Management refers to the use of effective strategies to facilitate organizational change initiatives and to overcome resistance to change. Given that 50%-70% of planned change efforts fail, Canada leaders must be equipped to handle both the operational or structural side as well as the people side of change. View the Canadian Leadership Trend Report.
Leading Employees and Change Management are viewed as important competencies in China, yet approximately 50% of leaders were not rated as proficient in these areas. Leaders in China should focus more time and attention on the needs of their direct reports as Leading Employees deals with attracting, motivating, and developing employees. Change Management refers to the use of effective strategies to facilitate organizational change initiatives and to overcome resistance to change. Given that 50%-70% of planned change efforts fail, China leaders must be equipped to handle both the operational or structural side as well as the people side of change. According to a CCL Insights Study, change is the second most important topic for leadership development. View the Chinese Leadership Trend Report.
Leaders in India are proficient in Strategic Perspective and Taking Initiative, but not so proficient in areas that focus more on working with others (Building Collaborative Relationships, Leading Employees, Participative Management). Though organizations value leaders who take initiative and do work that takes into account the priorities of senior leadership, they value even more so those leaders who also work well with their peers and direct reports. It is critical for leaders to bring others along in the process of achieving organizational goals. Greater impact is achieved when people work together effectively to meet shared goals. View the Indian Leadership Trend Report.
Leading Employees was the fourth most important competency in Singapore, yet over half of leaders were not rated as proficient in this area. Leading Employees focuses on attracting, motivating, and developing employees. Singapore leaders scored much better on Participative Management, which deals with involving others, listening, and building commitment. Though Leading Employees includes Participative Management, it is a broader competency that also focuses on recruiting talent employees, providing challenging development opportunities, and rewarding hard work among other key duties. Singapore leaders should consider focusing more of their time and attention on these latter areas. View the Singaporean Leadership Trend Report.
Region: United States
Building Collaborative Relationships, Strategic Perspective, and Taking Initiative are the 3 most important competencies in the U.S. and almost two-thirds of leaders are “at least proficient.” This means that American leaders tend to work effectively with colleagues and external groups to meet organizational objectives. Yet they are not as focused on Leading Employees and Change Management. These competencies focus on working with direct reports. Though achieving organizational objectives are critical, leaders must also ensure they are meeting the needs of their individual contributors executing the day-to-day work. View the United States’ Leadership Trend Report.
Taking Initiative was the highest rated competency in Africa. This means that leaders are effective at capitalizing on opportunities but they are doing so at the cost of focusing on other key responsibilities such as Leading Employees, Participative Management, and Change Management. After promising business opportunities have been identified, these latter competencies are what enable leaders to get the work done with their team. View the African Leadership Trend Report.
Leading Employees is an important, basic leader competency that involves attracting, motivating, and developing employees, yet it was the lowest rated competency in Europe. Leaders who are unable to master the fundamentals of leadership may find it difficult to achieve high levels of success in more complex areas such as Building Collaborative Relationships and Strategic Perspective. View the European Leadership Trend Report.
Building Collaborative Relationships is the most important competency for success in Asia-Pacific, yet nearly 40% of leaders were not rated as proficient in this area. Several competencies — Leading Employees, Participative Management, Change Management — center on working well with others on a day-to-day basis. A more dedicated focus on these particular competencies could critically improve a leader’s reputation and ability to build collaborative relationships over time. View the APAC Leadership Trend Report.
Region: Latin America
Three of the 6 most important competencies for success in Latin America involve working with others (Building Collaborative Relationships, Leading Employees, Participative Management), yet have the lowest proficiency ratings. Focusing on developing these competencies can support improvement in the most important competency — Strategic Perspective — which requires individuals to work with others to gain cooperation and get things done. View the Latin American Leadership Trend Report.
What can you do with the data we share?
CCL research has consistently found that leader competencies can be developed using 3 strategies:
- Challenging assignments that offer opportunities to practice new skills in the workplace;
- Relationships with other people who can provide feedback and support, including bosses and trusted colleagues; and
- Coursework and training focused on leadership competencies needed by your organization.
Once you understand the competencies needed for success in your region and where the gaps are greatest, you can begin to craft leadership development initiatives that deliver results that matter for your organization and its leaders.
After you’ve had the opportunity to review your region’s report, here are some further readings that you might find helpful when synthesizing the information:
- Putting Experience at the Center of Talent Management
- Using Political Skill to Maximize and Leverage Work Relationships
- Women and Political Savvy: How to Build and Embrace a Fundamental Leadership Skill
- Analytics for Change: How Networks and Data Science will Revolutionize Organizational Change
- Duke University School: Leveraging Networks for Change