Rod Cartwright with Ketchum pointed me to their Leadership Communication Monitor report. Reading through all the statistics and trends was fascinating, disappointing, and motivating. Here is a sample of all three:

Fascinating: Acting in a customer-centered way is being more closely tied to effective corporate leadership behaviors. Although trustworthiness is still at the top in leadership attributes, the largest jump in importance include these areas: quality products/services, customer service, and customer-focused.

Disappointing: Confidence in leaders is not improving and only “24% feel leaders are demonstrating effective leadership, with a 21 percentage point gap between expectations and delivery.”

Motivating: In leadership crisis, we may find purpose in how we lead. The urgency of the situation demands better leadership and many will embrace leaders who lead by example in integrity, transparency, and responsibility. The technology sector stands as a solid example so we have opportunities to learn from successes and failures.

Craving Leadership

People crave solid leadership. People crave trustworthiness in leaders and organizations. And you know what? Leaders crave these elements, too (or, at least, they should). We need to rise to the leadership challenge and deliver better leadership practices and actions.

Craving Leadership – Ways Forward

To answer the leadership crave, the Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor (March 2013) offers a direction forward. Several leadership behaviors were offered, and highlighted below are the top five for the next 10 years.

  1. The ability to build and inspire effective teams who, together, will create the future.
  2. The ability to turn complex problems into an opportunity or advantage.
  3. The vision to see the future despite near-term distractions and the flexibility to find a way to reach it.
  4. The ability to calm unstable situations and steer others towards useful outcomes.
  5. The ability to create, grow and tap into smart networks, by using new technologies to drive change.

For me, what these themes raise is a call for an enhanced leadership model. The new behaviors guide us to a new five point leadership model:

  1. Lead to inspire action
  2. Lead to solve problems while creating opportunities
  3. Lead with clarity of action
  4. Lead with calm confidence
  5. Lead collaboratively to facilitate change

This is the call of creating a new leadership story line. This is the call to cross the gap and engage leaders across the generations and lead anew.

Craving Leadership – Across Generations

When asked which generation “is most likely to navigate us through challenging and rapidly changing times over the coming 3-5 year,” the unsurprising answer is a blend of Boomers and Generation X (leaders between 35 and 50). Why unsurprising? These leaders are here and now and a 3-5 year timeframe is very short.

The real answer to address the leadership craving is this:  All generations of leaders need to be engaged. The only way to solve the leadership challenges is by working across generations, understanding perspectives, and sharing experiences. By reaching across generations, we will close the leadership gap and enter a new era of trusted, engaging leadership.

Are you ready to cross the leadership gap?