The Leadership Disconnect


Published on

The 2012 Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI)
brings together the findings from almost
170,000 respondents from 30 countries. It
shows the results of diverse forces impacting the
contemporary workplace, including generational
and geographic diversity, the impact of mobile
technologies, employee empowerment,
and the widespread use of social media.
This third installment of the 2012 KGWI examines
the issue of leadership in the contemporary
workplace from the employee perspective.
It explores the way that workers think about
the quality, direction, and style of leadership,
and the degree to which they share the goals
of those who head their organizations.
The paper examines the leadership issue across
industry sectors, and globally, across
the Americas, APAC, and EMEA regions.
It also includes a generational perspective,
with a focus on the three main workforce
generations—Gen Y (age 19–30), Gen X
(age 31–48), and Baby Boomers (age 49–66).

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The Leadership Disconnect

  1. 1. The leadershipdisconnectkelly Global workforce index™168,000 people30 countriesrelease:AUGUST2012
  2. 2. 483860Leadership: what you wantand what you getpercent of workersworldwide that reportedthey feel inspired bytheir manager to dotheir best workpercent of workersworldwide that said theyeither didn’t believe intheir employer’s mission/purpose, or didn’t know itpercent of workersworldwide who speakhighly of their employer—the most positive countriesinclude Norway, Russia,Mexico, Sweden,United States and ItalythepreferredleadershipstylebreakdownPERCENT OF WORKERS WHO ARE DISSATISFIED WITH THEIR MANAGEMENT’S LEADERSHIP STYLE (TOP 10 COUNTRIES)Eight out of 10 countrieswho experience thehighest levels of leadershipdissatisfaction are in Europe 36%italy35%south Africa34%germany33%poland32%denmark31%hong Kong29%sweden29%hungary28%france28%switzerlandPuerto RicoCanadaUnited StatesMexicoSwitzerlandSouth AfricaBelgiumNorwayLuxembourgHungaryFranceItalyIrelandSwedenUnited KingdomRussiaGermanyNetherlandsPortugalPolandDenmarkIndiaIndonesiaMalaysiaNew ZealandSingaporeAustraliaThailandChinaHong KongActual leadership stylePreferred leadership styledemocraticFavors teaminvolvement/decision-makingby the group;gives instructionafter consultingthe groupempoweringFosters/allowsworkers tohave directdecision-makingresponsibilitiesempatheticSets a toneso workersfeel engaged,valued, andguided tosucceedvisionaryProvides clearvision/foresight,allowing forcohesiveprogresstowards ashared visionAuthoritativeDirect approach;expects thatdirectives willbe followeddemocratic(%)visionary(%)17202024871216empathetic(%)empowering(%)50% 65%35%PERCENT OF WORKERS inspired by theirmanagers to do their best work(by country)4%Thesefourleadershipstyles are preferred by 81% of workers29%ofworkerssay this is the most commonleadershipstyleButonly43%say this is what they actuallyseeintheirworkplaceIt’salsotheleast preferred
  3. 3. 3Kelly Global Workforce Index™Section 1:4 Introduction5 Leadership Style (by region)6 Leadership Style: Americas7 Leadership Style: EMEA8 Leadership Style: APAC9 Leadership Style (by generation)10 Leadership Style(by Professional/Technical andNon-Professional/Technical)11 Leadership Style (by industry)12 Preferred Leadership Style13 Leadership Style:Preferred vs. Actual14 Leadership Style:Professional/Technical Workers– Preferred vs. ActualSection 2:15 Introduction16 Managerial Inspiration (by region)17 Managerial Inspiration: Americas18 Managerial Inspiration: EMEA19 Managerial Inspiration: APAC20 Managerial Inspiration (by generation)21 Feedback on Employer (by region)22 Feedback on Employer: Americas23 Feedback on Employer: EMEA24 Feedback on Employer: APAC25 Employer Vision (by region)26 Employer Vision (by industry)27 ConclusioncontentsThe Kelly Global Workforce Index 2012The 2012 Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI)brings together the findings from almost170,000 respondents from 30 countries. Itshows the results of diverse forces impacting thecontemporary workplace, including generationaland geographic diversity, the impact of mobiletechnologies, employee empowerment,and the widespread use of social media.This third installment of the 2012 KGWI examinesthe issue of leadership in the contemporaryworkplace from the employee perspective.It explores the way that workers think aboutthe quality, direction, and style of leadership,and the degree to which they share the goalsof those who head their organizations.The paper examines the leadership issue acrossindustry sectors, and globally, acrossthe Americas, APAC, and EMEA regions.It also includes a generational perspective,with a focus on the three main workforcegenerations—Gen Y (age 19–30), Gen X(age 31–48), and Baby Boomers (age 49–66).
  4. 4. 4Kelly Global Workforce Index™Not only are workers not heedingthe message from the top, they arequestioning core principles that underpinthe businesses for which they work.The latest survey results show that, globally,just 38% of respondents are satisfied withtheir current management’s leadership style.What are we to make of this? Are themessages from the top unclear, or are theleaders themselves not right for the job?Who’s listening to our business leaders?Business literature is bursting with advice on the development of leadership in modernbusiness. Yet, much of what our business leaders are saying is not being heard.section 1The question of leadership style in theworkplace focuses attention on thediffering approaches to leadership andmanagement. Leadership is about manythings—vision, performance, motivation, andinsight, as well as technical ability. Often,leadership is also about what “works”.Workers have an innate understandingabout what works and what doesn’t whenit comes to management oversight, sincethey observe it closely every day.Different leadership styles definedDemocratic: Favors team involvement/decision-making; gives instructionafter consulting the groupAuthoritative: Direct approach; expects that directives will be followedVisionary: Provides clear vision/foresight, allowing for cohesiveprogress towards a shared visionEmpowering: Fosters/allows workers to have direct decision-making responsibilitiesEmpathetic: Sets a tone so workers feel engaged, valued, and guided to succeedHumble Servitude: Focuses on listening; establishes a spirit of service for workersMoral/ethical: Insistence on ethical behavior by all, practicing the“Golden Rule” in all company dealings
  5. 5. 5Kelly Global Workforce Index™Leadership style (by region)Å The most favorable assessmentcomes from workers in the Americas,where 45% say they are satisfied withtheir current management’s leadershipstyle. This is significantly higherthan the average across all regions,with only 34% of workers reportingthey are satisfied in EMEA and 39%voicing their satisfaction in APAC.How satisfied are you with your management’s leadership style? (Total satisfied %, by region)AMERICAS EMEA45% 34%APAC ALL COUNTRIES39% 38%
  6. 6. 6Kelly Global Workforce Index™Leadership style: americasÅ The Americas region is doing farbetter than elsewhere around the globewhen it comes to employee satisfactionwith management’s leadership style,and the standout performers in theAmericas are Puerto Rico and Mexico.With well over 50% of workers satisfiedwith their management’s leadershipstyle, the two countries are wellabove the global average of 38%.While Canada and the United Statesare at the lower end of the Americasregion on this score, they are bothabove the global average.How satisfied are you with your management’s leadership style? (Total satisfied %, by country)42%43%55%58%303540455055606570UnitedStatesCanadaMexicoPuertoRico
  7. 7. 7Kelly Global Workforce Index™Leadership style: EMEAÅ The EMEA region is the worstperforming of the major global regions onthe issue of leadership style satisfaction.Within the EMEA region, the mostsuccessful countries—in terms ofleadership style satisfaction—areRussia, Norway, and Ireland, which allsit above the average for the region.The major economies of Germany andFrance sit below the regional average.The United Kingdom is performingconsistently with the average forthe EMEA region, while Italy andPortugal are the worst performers.How satisfied are you with your management’s leadership style? (Total satisfied %, by country)51% 45% 39% 38% 37% 35% 34% 33% 33% 32% 32% 32% 31% 30% 29% 25% 20%102030405060ItalyPortugalFranceNetherlandsGermanySwedenLuxembourgSouthAfricaDenmarkBelgiumPolandUnitedKingdomHungarySwitzerlandIrelandNorwayRussia
  8. 8. 8Kelly Global Workforce Index™Leadership style: APACÅ The APAC region sits midway betweenthe Americas and EMEA on the globalmeasure of leadership style satisfaction,with an average 39% of workers satisfiedwith their management’s leadership style.Within the region, there is a wide rangeof performance with India, Thailand,and Australia all sitting comfortablyabove the average for the region.At the other end of the scale,both Hong Kong and Indonesiarate lowest in APAC.How satisfied are you with your management’s leadership style? (Total satisfied %, by country)47% 42% 41% 39% 39% 37% 36% 33% 30%2025303540455055Leadership style - APACHongKongIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeAustraliaNewZealandIndiaThailandChina
  9. 9. 9Kelly Global Workforce Index™Leadership style (by generation)Å Amongst the main workplacegenerations, Gen Y are more satisfiedwith their management’s leadershipstyle (40%) compared with Gen Xand Baby Boomers (both 37%).How satisfied are you with your management’s leadership style? (Total satisfied %, by generation)40% 37% 37%GEN Y GEN X BABY BOOMERS
  10. 10. 10Kelly Global Workforce Index™Leadership style (by Professional/Technicaland non-Professional/Technical)Å Workers with a Professional/Technical (P/T) skill set are morecontent with their management’sleadership style (41%) compared withthose with non-P/T skill sets (38%).How satisfied are you with your management’s leadership style? (Total satisfied %)41% 38%PROFESSIONAL/TECHNICALNON-PROFESSIONAL/TECHNICAL
  11. 11. 11Kelly Global Workforce Index™Leadership style (by industry)Å It is possible to gauge theeffectiveness of leadership style withindistinct industry sectors. The industrieswhere workers cite the highest levelsof satisfaction with management’sleadership style are: Business Services,Education, IT, Government, and Utilities/Oil/Gas. Those with the lowest levelsof satisfaction are Hospitality/Travel/Leisure and Transport/Distribution.How satisfied are you with your management’s leadership style? (Total satisfied %)45%44%43%43%43%41%41%41%41%39%39%38%37%37%30 35 40 45Hospitality/Travel/LeisureTransport/DistributionOtherRetailLife SciencesFood and BeverageFinancial ServicesChemicalsAutomotiveUtilities/Oil/GasGovernmentInformation TechnologyEducationBusiness Services
  12. 12. 12Kelly Global Workforce Index™preferred Leadership styleÅ When workers are asked theiropinion on their preferred leadershipstyle, we see a very clear preference.From a range of choices, the preferredleadership style is one described as“democratic”, nominated by 24%of respondents. This is followed by“empowering” (20%), “empathetic”(20%), and “visionary” (17%).Together, the democratic, empowering,empathetic, visionary modes ofleadership make up an overwhelming81% of the preferred choices. And whileno one leadership style dominatesas the preferred choice, democratic,empowering, empathetic, and visionarystyles of leadership resonate moststrongly among workers. Workers clearlyopt for a leadership style that somemight say emphasizes the “soft” skills—communications, vision, empathy, teambuilding, and individual empowerment.Which of the following do you prefer as a leadership style in the workplace?0%5%10%15%20%25%30%OtherDont KnowAuthoritativeHumbleServitudeMoral/EthicalVisionaryEmpatheticEmpoweringDemocratic
  13. 13. 13Kelly Global Workforce Index™Å In contrast to the preferredmodes of leadership nominated byworkers, what they actually get issomething different altogether.The most common style of leadershipis “authoritative,” cited by 29% ofworkers. It’s also the least preferred.When it comes to the democratic,empowering, empathetic, visionarymodes of leadership that are preferredby 81%, just 43% say this is what theyare actually seeing in their workplace.In other words, there is a significantdisconnect between the leadership/management style workers areseeking and what they are getting..Which leadership style does your current manager display and which leadership style do you prefer?Leadership style: preferred vs. Actual0%5%10%15%20%25%30%OtherDont KnowAuthoritativeHumbleServitudeMoral/EthicalVisionaryEmpatheticEmpoweringDemocraticPreferredActual
  14. 14. 14Kelly Global Workforce Index™Å The prevalence of the authoritativeleadership style is an intriguing finding,and one that clearly sits uncomfortablywith workers. For organizations thathave a corporate culture that relieson a command structure, this won’tbe such an issue. But for the manybusinesses that promote collaboration,and want to harness the full depth oftheir talent pool, it will be problematic.Among respondents in the Professional/Technical category, the trend is alsoevident. The authoritative leadershipstyle is the prevailing approach, yetit is the least preferred. Across allof the most preferred leadershipstyles, workers report that they arenot getting what they expect.Which leadership style does your current manager display and which leadership style do you prefer?Leadership style: Professional/TechniCal Workers– preferred vs. Actual0%5%10%15%20%25%30%OtherDont KnowAuthoritativeHumbleServitudeMoral/EthicalVisionaryEmpatheticEmpoweringDemocraticPreferredActual
  15. 15. 15Kelly Global Workforce Index™Only around half (48%) of those surveyedsay that they are inspired by their currentmanager to perform their best work.Business leaders struggle with ways to liftworkplace productivity through measuresFilling the Management VacuumOne of the chief goals of an effective leader is to motivate staff to achieve higherperformance. Yet, something seems amiss when it comes to the way workers evaluatethe performance of their managers.section 2such as technology, training, and otherworkforce development tools. What isclear is that many workers recognize thatthese efforts are largely unsuccessful inencouraging their personal best at work.It raises the question as to whethermanagers are ill-prepared or that wesimply have the wrong ones. Or perhapsthe harried pace of the modern workplacehas altered what leaders can provideand what workers should expect.
  16. 16. 16Kelly Global Workforce Index™Å The lowest level of managerialinspiration is in the EMEA region, wherejust 44% of workers are motivatedby their managers. On average it’ssignificantly higher in the Americas(52%) and the APAC region (54%).managerial inspiration (BY region)Does your current manager inspire you to do your best work? (% Yes, by region)AMERICAS EMEA52% 44%APAC ALL COUNTRIES54% 48%
  17. 17. 17Kelly Global Workforce Index™Å The Americas region boaststhe top marks for managerialinspiration, with more than half (52%)of workers agreeing that they arepushed to do their best work.Within the Americas, Puerto Ricoat 62% is the top performer, whileCanada, United States, and Mexico areall well above the global average.managerial inspiration: americasDoes your current manager inspire you to do your best work? (% Yes, by country)50%52%52%62%3540455055606570MexicoUnitedStatesCanadaPuertoRico
  18. 18. 18Kelly Global Workforce Index™Å EMEA trails both the Americas andAPAC on the issue of managementinspiration, but there is significantdiversity across the region.Switzerland, South Africa, and Belgiumare all among the best rated on aglobal scale, but Denmark, Poland,and Portugal rate among the lowest.managerial inspiration: EMEADoes your current manager inspire you to do your best work? (% Yes, by country)51% 50% 49% 48% 48% 47% 46% 46% 45% 45% 44% 43% 40% 37% 36% 34% 34%253239465360DenmarkPolandPortugalNetherlandsGermanyRussiaUnitedKingdomSwedenIrelandItalyFranceHungaryLuxembourgNorwayBelgiumSouthAfricaSwitzerland
  19. 19. 19Kelly Global Workforce Index™Å The APAC region, as a whole,rates relatively well on this score, butits great diversity masks some poorperformers in the management stakes.The standout top performers are India,Indonesia, and Malaysia, with well overhalf of workers giving their managementhigh marks for inspiring leadership.At the other extreme, managementin Hong Kong and Chinareceived poor marks in the eyesof their country’s workers.managerial inspiration: APACDoes your current manager inspire you to do your best work? (% Yes, by country)65% 58% 58% 52% 52% 51% 44% 40% 38%3075HongKongIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeAustraliaNewZealandIndiaThailandChina
  20. 20. 20Kelly Global Workforce Index™Å When viewed from a generationalperspective, Gen Y appear to be getting aslightly better outcome (51%) than Gen Xand Baby Boomers (both 47%). However,overall the results do not reflect wellon the ability of management to lift theworkforce to higher levels of performance.managerial inspiration (by generation)Does your current manager inspire you to do your best work? (% Yes, by generation)51% 47% 47%GEN Y GEN X BABY BOOMERS
  21. 21. 21Kelly Global Workforce Index™feedback on Employer (by region)Å There is also the issue of the waythat superior leadership translates intoperceptions about the best placesto work. Workers use a variety ofmethods, including social media, tocommunicate with their peers aboutwork, company culture and leadership.When asked, 60% of respondents,globally, say that they speak highlyof their employer to third parties. Butthere is a significant variation acrossthe globe. In the Americas, more thantwo-thirds (67%) say they speak highlyof their employer, but this drops to58% in EMEA and 55% in APAC.When speaking to others, do you speak highly of your employer? (% Yes, by region)AMERICAS EMEA67% 58%APAC ALL COUNTRIES55% 60%
  22. 22. 22Kelly Global Workforce Index™feedback on Employer: AmericasÅ The Americas region enjoys a veryhigh level of positive employee feedback.The highest is in Mexico, where almostthree-quarters of workers speakhighly of their management, followedby the United States (67%), PuertoRico (64%), and Canada (60%).When speaking to others, do you speak highly of your employer? (% Yes, by country)60%64%67%73%50607080CanadaPuertoRicoUnitedStatesMexico
  23. 23. 23Kelly Global Workforce Index™feedback on Employer: EMEAÅ In EMEA, public praise formanagement sits on average at 58%;however, there is a vast gulf betweenthe highest and the lowest.In Norway and Russia more than 70%of workers are comfortable in speakingfavorably about their employers.In both Switzerland and the UnitedKingdom, only around half arehappy to praise their employers,and in Germany and Denmark itfalls to approximately one-third.When speaking to others, do you speak highly of your employer? (% Yes, by country)74% 73% 69% 67% 65% 62% 58% 58% 58% 57% 56% 55% 54% 53% 50% 36% 32%25354555657585GermanyDenmarkSwitzerlandUnitedKingdomLuxembourgSouthAfricaPortugalIrelandHungaryPolandFranceBelgiumNetherlandsItalySwedenRussiaNorway
  24. 24. 24Kelly Global Workforce Index™feedback on Employer: APACÅ Workers in the APAC region, asa whole, are the least likely to speakfavorably about their employers.But that doesn’t apply in countries such asChina, Thailand, India, and New Zealand,where approximately 60% are contentto speak positively to others about theiremployers. In contrast, in Hong Kong,only about 40% are willing to do so.When speaking to others, do you speak highly of your employer? (% Yes, by country)60% 58% 57% 57% 56% 52% 52% 50% 42%3065HongKongIndonesiaMalaysiaSingaporeAustraliaNewZealandIndiaThailandChina
  25. 25. 25Kelly Global Workforce Index™Employer vision (by region)Å In many instances, the waythat workers feel toward theiremployer rests largely on thedegree of “buy-in” that they have tomanagement’s goals and vision.Workers who understand and embracethe goals of management have a sharedpurpose, which means that everyone isclear about both the strategic directionand the means to implement it.When asked whether they believein what their employer is trying toachieve, there is more than half(62%) who say that they do.Workers in the Americas (68%) andAPAC (67%) share relatively high ratesof common purpose. In contrast, only56% of workers in EMEA believe in whattheir employer is trying to accomplish.Do you believe in what your employer is trying to accomplish (the company’s mission/purpose)? (% Yes, by region)AMERICAS EMEA68% 56%APAC ALL COUNTRIES67% 62%
  26. 26. 26Kelly Global Workforce Index™Employer vision (by industry)Å Once again, the results paint asomewhat unsettling picture for manybusinesses. Nearly four in 10 (37%)workers do not believe in or share thecritical vision for the organization that ismapped out by its leadership, or they areunsure what it is. By any measure, thisrepresents a considerable deadweightloss in the form of workers who areemotionally disengaged, and quitepossibly working well below their best.What is also clear is that the trend islargely uniform across industry sectors.There are very few industries that aregetting this right. Education is perhapsthe standout performer, but even inthat sector there is still almost a thirdthat is isolated from the core mission.Do you believe in what your employer is trying to accomplish (the company’s mission/purpose)? (% Yes, by industry)70%68%67%67%67%66%65%65%65%65%64%64%62%62%30 40 50 60 70 80Hospitality/Travel/LeisureTransport/DistributionRetailOtherInformation TechnologyChemicalsFinancial ServicesFood and BeverageAutomotiveLife SciencesGovernmentBusiness ServicesUtilities/Oil/GasEducation
  27. 27. 27Kelly Global Workforce Index™The vast majority of workers will nothave digested the theories of leadership,but they see it in practice every day,and they have well-defined views aboutwhat constitutes good leadership.Given the resources that businessesdevote to enhancing leadershipcapabilities, there remains a worrying gapbetween the priority and the results.Of course, it is entirely possible that the “lostone-third” may be right. Their managementmay be on the wrong track yet can’t seeit. Businesses fail every day because ofpoor management. But high performingenterprises go to great lengths to ensurethat there is a shared vision of organizationalgoals and direction, from top to bottom.Many workers who are isolated from the coremission may be the victims of leadershipfailure; it may be failure of managers toadequately develop a strategic goal orfailure to communicate the goal. Eitherway, it’s a serious vacuum that is costly interms of productivity and staff morale.This poses a number of important questionsfor both employers and candidates.For employers:1. How are you evaluating your leadershipdevelopment efforts? Are youconsidering how best to lead a multi-generational/cultural workforce?2. Are you grooming leaders who aresolely focused on growing the businessfrom the bottom line? It may betime to also teach them how to growthe business from the front line.3. How are you revising your leadershipdevelopment efforts to deal with theincrease in the virtual workforce?4. Are your leaders just too busy to lead?5. Has the move to more matrixorganizations contributed to thedisconnect between workers and leaders?6. How can you encourage more groupcollaboration and more decisionmaking authority?For workers:1. How do you cope when your managerdoesn’t speak your language?2. What are the ways of earning moreresponsibility on the job?3. How can you improve your leadership skills?4. How can you fuel your ownindividual inspiration?ConclusionClosing the GapThere is an abundance of theories and opinions about what constitutes the best businessleaders. Much of this is from the perspective of the business executive. There is considerablyless focus on the view from the “factory floor” or from the office.
  28. 28. 28Kelly Global Workforce Index™About Kelly services®Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB) is a leader in providing workforce solutions.Kelly®offers a comprehensive array of outsourcing and consulting services as well as world-classstaffing on a temporary, temporary-to-hire, and direct-hire basis. Serving clients around the globe,Kelly provides employment to more than 550,000 employees annually. Revenue in 2011 was$5.6 billion. Visit and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.Download The Talent Project, a free iPad app by Kelly Services.About the kelly global workforce indexThe Kelly Global Workforce Index is an annual survey revealing opinions about work and theworkplace. More than 168,000 people across the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions respondedto the 2012 survey. This survey was conducted by RDA Group on behalf of Kelly Services.EXITAn Equal Opportunity Employer © 2012 Kelly