New Survey Has World Business Leaders Questioning, “Who Are We?”

The recession is emotionally tough for all of us, but apparently many of the world’s business leaders are having a serious identity crisis.

Korn/Ferry International released its Q4 Confidence in Leadership Index today, measuring credibility, trust, and characteristics of leadership by surveying 500 management-level or higher executives in 14 countries. Some of the most interesting results had less to do with leadership talent and more with ethics. Take a look at this chart:


On the question concerning the company operating with the highest set of ethical standards, there is a 19 point difference between North America and Europe. In fact, North America is confident in its ethics in all five inquiries, while Europe holds the lowest confidence rating in all five. Looking at leaders specifically, it’s the same results: another 19 point difference. So, is North America ethically overconfident, or is Europe ethically depressed?

The next chart shows that North America and Europe are both less confident in their business ethics than they were last quarter, while Central/South America and the Asia Pacific are a little more.


Aside from ethics, the survey provided a few other interesting results: North America is least optimistic about the direction of leadership, and the credibility of leadership declined in North America this quarter, even though it rose in the Asia Pacific, Central/South America and Europe. However, North America remains the most trusting of leadership with a score of 80 out of 100. This chart shows how leaders in different regions percieve their own performance, as well as the performance of their subordinates and bosses:


So, we in North America trust our leaders, and we think we’re super ethical, but we’re pessimistic about the direction and credibility of our leaders, and we’re usure about their abilities. In a survey completed by our leaders.

Mid-career crisis, anyone?