Global study: The link between leadership communication and the bottom line

March 21, 2013

The second annual Ketchum Leadership Communications Monitor, a global study of 6,000 people in 12 countries, explored the link between leadership and communications. The research found that when business leaders fall short, sales impact is significant and direct, and that politicians who don’t act with long-term interest can learn from business leaders who have foresight.

Sixty-one percent of those surveyed see business leaders as focused mainly on the long-term. They also saw business chiefs as those who often take responsibility when things go wrong. Conversely, 60 percent saw politicians as short-term focused and ranked them low in accountability.

Only 34 percent of respondents view business chiefs as effective leaders, and 35 percent believe they are successful communicators. Open communication topped the list of key leadership attributes again this year — but the perceived effectiveness of their communications dropped 24 percent globally.

In 2012, 60 percent stopped buying, or bought less, from a company because of perceptions of the behavior of those in charge, showing that poor leadership directly impacts sales.

People also view employees and third-party analysts as the most trustworthy, with the CEO and other senior management ranking sixth and seventh. And 62 percent are looking to Gen-X leaders to take over and define the future.

“This year’s data shows a striking gap between leaders’ words and deeds, as well as the impact of that gap on the company’s sales and reputation,” said Rob Flaherty, senior partner and CEO, Ketchum. “At the same time, the fact that employees at large currently carry far greater credibility as company ambassadors than senior management cannot be ignored.”

Additional survey information and materials can be found here.


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