20 Insightful Leadership Statistics

Leadership is a critical part of a company’s success. Without sound leadership, a business can easily end up on the completely wrong path. But the world of leadership isn’t as cut-and-dry as you might expect. Read on for 20 insightful leadership statistics.

1. Only 10% of People Have Natural Leadership Talent

While it’s common to assume that anyone can be a leader, given the opportunity, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Overall, just 10% of people have a natural talent for managing others, allowing them to effectively engage with team members, boost retention, and bolster productivity with relative ease.

Another 20% of people do have some leadership talent. With proper training, those individuals could become capable managers.

[Source: Gallup]

2. 80% of Companies Are Struggling with a Leadership Talent Shortage

Building a strong leadership team is a priority for most companies. However, 80% of organizations are struggling with a leadership talent shortage, making it challenging to find suitable candidates for higher-level positions.

[Source: Mercer Mettl]

3. 30% of Companies Fail to Create Functional Leadership Development Programs

Having an effective leadership development program creates opportunities, allowing organizations to cultivate the leaders they need today and into the future. However, due to a lack of senior management involvement, 30% of companies can’t create an effective program.

[Source: Mercer Mettl]

4. Only 22% of Employees Strongly Believe Company Leaders Have a Clear Direction for the Company

Without leaders having a clear direction for the company, organizations may struggle to act in a cohesive manner, hindering success. While this is often considered widely known, only 22% of employees strongly believe that the leaders in their organization have a clear direction for their company.

[Source: Gallup]

5. When Leaders Focus on a Team’s Strengths, Profits Rise by Up to 29%

Where leaders focus has a significant impact on a team’s success. When they choose to concentrate on the team’s strengths, profits increase by 14 to 29%. Additionally, customer engagement increases by 3 to 7%, while the number of engaged employees goes up by 9 to 15%.

[Source: Gallup]

6. The Number of Female CEOs Rose by 2% in 2020, to 7.8%

During what most would call a challenging year, women made strides in the leadership ranks. The number of female CEOs increased by 2 percent during 2020. However, that only brought the total percentage of female CEOs to 7.8%.

[Source: Biz Women]

7. Women Are More Effective Than Men in 84% of Critical Leadership Competency Areas

Being an effective leader usually requires a broad array of associated skills. Self-development, integrity, honesty, resilience, motivating others, innovative thinking, developing others, and similar traits are vital to leadership success.

Out of 19 critical leadership capabilities, women had higher overall competency scores than men in 17 categories. That included competency areas like “bold leadership,” communicating “powerful and prolifically,” “driving results,” and more.

[Source: Harvard Business Review]

8. People Age 55 to 66 Are More Likely to Believe Men and Women Are Equally Capable of Leading Than Those Age 18 to 34

While it would be easy to assume that younger generations were more likely to feel that men and women are equally competent when it comes to leadership, that isn’t necessarily the case. While 72% of people aged 18 to 34 felt that way, 76% of 55- to 66-year-olds did.

[Source: Bloomberg]

9. Out of the Fortune 500 Companies, Only 4 Have Black CEOs

Out of all of the Fortune 500 Companies, only four currently have black CEOs. Earlier in 2021, there were five. However, when Ken Frazier retired from Merck in June of 2021, Robert M. Davis took his place, bringing the total number down to four.

[Source: NPR and Merck]

10. 80% of Companies Say Leadership Is a High Priority

Most companies understand that having strong leadership is vital. Overall, 80% of organizations view it as a high priority.

[Source: Deloitte]

11. 77% of Millennials Consider Their Employer’s Ability to Provide Leadership Development “Weak”

When it comes to their employer’s ability to provide sufficient leadership training, Millennials appear to have doubts. Overall, 77% characterized their company’s capacity to provide leadership development as “weak.”

[Source: Human Resources Professionals Association]

12. 63% of Millennials Believe Their Companies Aren’t Developing Their Leadership Capabilities

When it comes to cultivating their talent, 63% of Millennials believe their company is missing the mark, feeling that their employers are falling short when it comes to fully developing their leadership skills.

[Source: Human Resources Professionals Association]

13. 60% of Companies Worry About How Their Employees View Their Level of Transparency

Many companies understand that being viewed as transparent by their employees matters. Overall, 60% of organizations actively worry about how their level of transparency is perceived.

[Source: Deloitte]

14. 40% of Managers Believe That Company Leaders Are Very Transparent – But Only 22% of Employees Feel the Same

Transparency is often a foundation of good leadership. However, how it’s perceived can vary depending on a person’s position within a company.

While 39% of managers think that the leadership team within their company is very transparent, only 22% of employees agree with that sentiment. Additionally, while 23% of managers say that their organization’s leadership team isn’t transparent at all, 39% of employees believe that to be true.

[Source: Tiny Pulse]

15. 59% of Managers Supervising One or Two Employees Received No Management Training

While formal management training could boost leadership performance, 59% of managers who oversee one to two employees say that they’ve received no management training. Of those that supervise three to five employees, 41% have also received no training.

[Source: West Monroe]

16. 42% of Managers Developed Their Leadership Style Through Observation Alone

A manager’s leadership style impacts their effectiveness in the role, as well as other aspects of the business, including team performance, retention, and morale. Overall, 42% of managers say that they didn’t develop their leadership style through formal training. Instead, it was by observing a previous manager.

[Source: West Monroe]

17. A Mere 35% of Managers Feel Engaged at Work

Engagement is crucial for professional success. However, while the impact of an employee not being engaged is problematic, the situation can be worse when leaders aren’t fully engaged.

Overall, just 35% of managers feel engaged at work. Of the rest, 51% are simply not engaged, with 14% consider themselves actively disengaged.

[Source: Gallup]

18. Nearly 16 Million Americans Work in Management Positions

While it may seem like the number of company leaders is limited within a company, a significant portion of the workforce is in an upper-level role. Overall, about 15.96 million people are in management roles in the United States.

[Source: Data USA]

19. Companies Choose the Wrong Candidate for Management Positions 82% of the Time

Having capable managers in place is a must for a company’s success. However, when it comes to choosing a manager among the available candidates, businesses seem to miss the mark.

Overall, 82% of companies select a candidate that doesn’t have the skills or talent necessary to fulfill the needs of the role, a move that can lead to lower engagement, higher turnover, poor productivity, and other adverse outcomes.

[Source: Gallup]

20. 57% of People in Management Positions Are Male

In the United States, management positions are more commonly filled by men than women. Overall, there are around 9.13 million men working in management roles, representing 57.2%of the management population. Another 6.82 million are female, representing the other 43.8%.

[Source: Data USA]

Bottom Line

Ultimately, the leadership statistics above are pretty intriguing. They highlight current struggles, disconnects between employees and managers, and issues that may be preventing organizations from cultivating the leaders they need to thrive. In the end, they paint a fascinating picture of the state of leadership.

About the Author

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Catherine Reed

Catherine Reed is a writer and researcher with experience writing about a wide variety of topics including personal finance, technology, and staffing.