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Global Leadership Trends for 2021

Do companies have the talent they need for the future?

How has COVID-19 impacted leaders?

What leadership trends are emerging for 2021?

Scroll to see our top 5 findings

#1

Bench Strength Drops to a New Low

2011

18%

2014

15%

2017

14%

2020

11%

Bench strength reaches an all-time low.

Percentage of HR saying they have a strong bench to fill leadership roles

Only 47% of critical roles can be filled by current leaders. It's clear organizations don't have the leaders they need today, or for the future.

#2

COVID-19 Tested Leaders' Skills

Digital acumen became 25% more important for leaders responding to the crisis.

Leaders had to be more prepared for:

Responding to competition in their industry

Innovating to improve products and services

Leaders were less effective at:

Leading virtual teams and contractors

Using empathy or emotional intelligence

Through the pandemic, leaders faced new challenges in remote work and more difficult conversations. Ratings of their own effectiveness in virtual leadership and empathy dropped significantly.

#3

During Crisis, Leaders Spend Time Differently

Preference to learn online

Pre-COVID

28%

During Crisis

36%

New Normal

40%

Hours Leaders Want to Spend Learning per Week

Pre-COVID

During Crisis

New Normal

Hours Leaders Currently Spend Learning per Week

Pre-COVID

During Crisis

New Normal

When in crisis mode, leaders are more likely to seek support. During the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, they spent more time on development, especially online.

#4

Leaders Stepped Up During Crisis

Leaders grew more positive about senior leaders

Leaders grew more positive about senior leaders.

Leadership ratings peaked 14% higher at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic required more of all leaders, especially senior leaders.

#5

Leaders Struggle to Handle Burnout

Leaders are most confident...

55%

Achieving their team’s goals

51%

Rallying their team around a common purpose

47%

Building team enthusiasm and engagement

But least confident...

18%

Helping team members avoid burnout

14%

Making the right hiring decision

12%

Navigating organizational politics

This infographic is from the

Global Leadership Forecast Series

examining responses from

15,787 Leaders

2,102 HR Professionals

1, 742 Organizations

Explore the Global Leadership Forecast Download a PDF of GLF trends

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