What Makes Leadership Effective in this New Era of Work? A New International Research Study by PSI Talent Management Released

New research released by PSI Talent Management provides a detailed picture of leadership now and in the future, and reveals the different perspectives of leaders, their employees, and organizations

November 18, 2021

Glendale, CA – Perspectives on leadership are shifting. An international research study released today by PSI Talent Management provides a comprehensive view of what is important for leadership now and in the future.

Drawing on new research, the study reveals similarities and differences between leaders and their employees’ views on leadership effectiveness, key leadership behaviors, and the employee experience.

The pandemic had a seismic impact on the world of work, introducing lasting changes to organizations and what employees want from their work. PSI’s talent experts believe leaders need to shift and evolve their approach as the working context and employee expectations have changed. In response, the study shares the core behaviors that will be indicative of successful leadership now and in the future world of work.

The research found considerable alignment between perspectives of core leadership behaviors and the challenges ahead for the next five years:

  • The number one desired leadership attribute for the next five years is inspiring, motivating, and engaging employees to achieve results and enable a positive employee experience. This is rated the top priority by both leaders and employees.
  • The biggest challenge is attracting and retaining employees over the next five years, as voted by 56% of employees and 57% of surveyed leaders.

However, there were striking differences in important areas such as leadership effectiveness and employee experience:

  • 28% of employees rate quality of employee experience as only fair, and a further 11% rate employee experience as poor or very poor. In contrast, leaders believe employee experience is more positive, with 82% rating employee experience in their organization as good or excellent, and less than 3% rating it as poor or very poor.
  • Only 55% of employees felt that the quality of leadership in their organization was effective or very effective, compared to 63% of leaders. Furthermore, 17% of employees feel leadership is ineffective to some extent compared to just 11% of leaders.

PSI experts surveyed 1,950 respondents across 34 countries in a range of jobs, seniority levels, sectors, and organization sizes. The research investigated different perspectives – the employee, the leader, and the organization. The study focuses on leadership across four major research themes of organizational performance, employee experience, lessons learned from the pandemic, and the future of leadership.

“As the world of work continues to change, the role and attributes of leaders continue to be debated and reviewed. Changes around expectations of leaders have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the impact of leaders on the employee experience, in terms of motivation, engagement, and well-being.”

“We wanted to conduct this research to explore how expectations around leadership are changing. Our findings provide valuable and important insights for leaders themselves, HR professionals and organizations as they look ahead to the future, to help identify, support and develop outstanding leadership,” said Dan Hughes, Head of International Research and Development at PSI Talent Management. “This will drive organizational success and a positive employee experience at work.”

The survey also highlights additional key research findings, which are critical for organizations to help evolve their leadership:

  • 91% of employees and 93% of leaders consider positive employee experience to be very or extremely important for organizational success.
  • Only 24% of employees felt their leaders were very or fully prepared to deal with future leadership challenges, in comparison to just over a third of leaders who felt they were very or fully prepared themselves (37%).
  • 52% of employees and 42% of leaders rated employee well-being as a top five leadership challenge in the next five years.
  • When asked what employees need to perform at their best, four out of the top five most frequently used words were the same for both employees and leaders. This is remarkable given it was a free-response question – and the top four words were motivated, happy, valued, and supported.
  • Standout qualities of great leaders from an organizational perspective include authenticity, humbleness, creating psychological safety, and encouraging collaboration.
  • Key personal development areas for leaders to be successful in the future are growth mindset, Emotional Intelligence, personal resilience, and digital dexterity.

Read the full report here.

About PSI Talent Management
We are talent experts. We are psychologists, data scientists and HR consultants who screen, select, develop, and engage talent worldwide. With psychology at our heart and technology at our fingertips, we enable you to make data-driven people decisions. Delivering over 30 million assessments in more than 50 languages annually, we improve work everywhere and anywhere. Unlock talent potential. Realize your ambition. More information about PSI’s talent management solutions is available at www.psionline.com/talent.

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Veronica Hannon
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