Leaders should guide in difficult times: Ketchum
Dubai, March 20, 2012
Leaders from politics, business and religious life, both around the world and in the UAE, are strongly expected to provide safe guidance through any difficult times in 2012,according to a new 12-country survey by leading global communications firm Ketchum.
The survey reveals that leadership credibility requires a combination of decisive action and honest, transparent communication, which is most effectively achieved through a leader’s personal presence and involvement.
The 312 people surveyed in the UAE were amongst those most impressed by their leaders when compared to 11 other countries around the world, it showed.
“Our new study clearly shows the full extent of the global desire for adept leadership to guide us through any difficult times in 2012, with the help of clear and firm communications,” said Nicola Gregson, managing director, Ketchum Raad Middle East, headquartered in Dubai.
“The research is also rich with practical insights, and forms a blueprint for more effective leadership communication. In the UAE, almost all those surveyed (89 per cent) stated that effective communication is extremely important to great leadership,” Gregson said.
Expectations of politicians in particular to provide effective leadership in difficult times were higher than for any other group in the study. Those surveyed expect their leaders to be open and honest role models, lead by example, bring out the best in others, communicate in an open and transparent way, and handle controversial issues or crises calmly.
Almost everyone said that good communication is extremely important to the country’s leadership, feeling that both business and political leaders already communicate effectively in the UAE.
Within the global business community, knowledge-based industries were perceived as having the most effective bosses. Ranked highest on leadership effectiveness was telecommunications, technology, media and energy.
The Ketchum survey underlines a direct link between positive perceptions of leadership and business-critical decisions such as the willingness to buy stock, goods and services, or a recommendation to work at a company.
This also explains why crisis-response is seen as the most important area for business leaders to communicate personally, followed by financial results and the state of the business.
Clear, transparent communication was the most important key leadership behaviour, the survey showed. Decisive action also matters, however, with tough decision-making, leading by example and calm crisis-handling following immediately behind.
It also revealed that globally, the number one action leaders should take to restore confidence in 2012 is to be open and honest about the nature and scale of challenges.
Trustworthiness is the number one source of leadership credibility, placed above quality of management and financial strength. To win that trust, the survey found that the personal “presence” and involvement of a leader in communicating was vital.
As a result, communication via face-to-face and traditional media left social media trailing. Face-to-face contact provided the greatest source of leadership credibility, followed by televised speeches, broadcast media, and print. Digital platforms and social media were seen as the least credible.
“How a leader communicates through traditional broadcast and print media is markedly more effective in building trust and leadership credibility than what is communicated through advertising, owned web sites and social media channels,” Gregson said. – TradeArabia News Service