DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2021 report highlights the direct impact of the rapidly transforming workplace on the retention of critical leadership talent and reveals worrying trends about leadership in post-pandemic India. The India report is based on survey responses from 917 leaders and 50 HR professionals.
In comparison to the report published in 2018, this study indicates a declining rate of 37% of HR professionals in India considering their leaders as high quality. In contrast to this, 69% of business leaders believe their leaders within their organisations to be of high quality which is higher than 54% in 2018. It is also found that while 57% of leaders are considering changing companies to advance their careers, 20% of HR professionals feel that they have a strong bench strength to fill leadership roles. It appears that the onset of the pandemic has widened the faith of HR to have successors internally.
With massive changes in the mode of work and communication, there has been a need for specific skill sets to accommodate to these changes. DDI’s study highlighted five critical differentiated skills for the future: leading virtual teams, coaching/delegation, empathy, digital acumen, and building business partnerships. While the global survey indicated that about 1 in 5 leaders are effective in leading virtual teams, the India results indicated about 2 out of 5 leaders to have this skill set.
Commenting on these findings, Amogh Deshmukh, Managing Director, DDI India said, “Workplace has undergone tremendous transformation in the recent past, thanks to the pandemic. While it has opened a plethora of opportunities, confidence in leadership bench strength continues to remain low. Also, a specific set of skills/competencies are going to help drive technology and people resources. These insights from the study clearly indicate a leadership crisis that is setting in owing to the growing disparity in what leaders want and what leaders are provided with. We are confident that findings will provide a direction for Business leaders and HR heads of companies in order to relook, review their leadership development strategies.”
It is true that the pandemic has brought about significant and lasting changes in the world of work. As important as it is to recognize the potential challenges facing leadership in India, we must use this opportunity to innovate new strategies to fill in the skill gaps and overcome these hurdles.