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Employees, and not just CEOs, may be becoming more important in setting perceptions of corporate leadership all over the world – but looks like it’ll still be a while before the trend hits China.
Polling more than 6,000 respondents in 12 countries, a recent Ketchum survey found 41% of respondents worldwide believe leadership should come mainly from the organisation and all its employees, while only 25% believed leadership should come only from the CEO.
Bruce Shu, managing director, Ketchum Greater China said however, people in fast-growing economies have higher trust in the CEO’s leadership compared to economies that are struggling.
This included respondents in high-growth economies such as China.
“Because of its higher than average belief in the effectiveness of its business leaders, China still looks mainly to the top level for leadership (74%), with 35% of Chinese respondents believing that leadership should be provided by the CEO only,” said Shu.
“Only 26% believed that leadership should come from the company overall, compared to 41% globally.”
The survey also identified the top three traditional attributes that Chinese staff believe an effective leader should possess: leading by example (66%), bringing out the best in others (62%), and handling controversial issues or crises calmly and confidently (62%).
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Another interesting finding was that 46% of Chinese respondents believe it is very important for a leader to be an extrovert, which is above the global average of 36%.
More than half (75%) of the Chinese respondents also viewed male leaders as the gender that will lead over the next half decade, 14 points higher than the global average.
This was, in fact, the highest rate tying with Singapore, among all countries polled on this topic.
The study pointed out that the emerging preference for leadership by many comes at a time when leaders are under scrutiny.
“Global crises, economic uncertainty and changes in business and technology continue at a relentless pace. In the age of social media, leaders are being judged quickly and at times mercilessly,” said Shu.
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In China, consumer technology and consumer packaged goods are the industries more likely to feel the effects of positive leadership behaviour on product sales, Shu pointed out.
On the other hand, the food and beverage and telecommunications industries are more likely to feel the effects of negative leadership behaviour.