Earth 2 Mars

Dec 18 , 2023
The Crisis of Leadership Today

The spotlight on leadership (executives and senior managers) has always been magnified especially during times of crisis. 

The abundance of social media channels and rapid technological advancements expose leaders to heightened scrutiny and swift judgement towards leaders. Instant access to real-time information amplifies the impact of their actions and decisions.

In recent times, we’ve seen an increasing number of executives of companies exposed in the media and hauled over the coals for poor decisions or actions. 

In a past Space for Change™ event, with our expert guest speakers Karen Ferris and Troy King, we dove into this topic starting with some sobering statistics presented by Karen. But there’s also hope.

At Earth2Mars we often say “Don’t waste a crisis”, because that’s a real opportunity for growth. The crisis is also a catalyst for good, and puts a spotlight on what we need to be focusing on and what language we need to be thinking about when it comes to leadership.

Understanding how neuroscience supports leadership development helps determine where to put your focus as a leader. There are 5 key ways to do this that Troy touched on and we’ll share for you to use at the end of this post. 

Before we do that, we need to understand the challenge at hand.  

We’ll share the sobering statistics of leadership and what you can do about them. 

First, let’s dive into addressing the sobering statistics that highlight the current state of leadership. 

According to the McKinsey report, a mere 25% of global business leaders see their counterparts as inspirational and fit for purpose. This raises a red flag, indicating that a significant number of leaders are falling short in inspiring and engaging their teams. The solution? Evaluate leadership within your organisation and pinpoint areas for improvement.

The DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast added another layer to the narrative, revealing low trust levels in senior leaders and managers, standing at 32% and 46%, respectively. Building trust is pivotal for effective leadership. Open communication, transparency, and leading by example emerge as key strategies to foster trust within teams.

However, the DDI’s survey also exposed a gap between critical leadership skills and the training provided. To bridge this gap, investing in leadership development programs becomes a priority. These programs should offer ongoing training opportunities to enhance the skills of leaders, covering areas such as talent identification, strategic thinking, and change management.

Authentic empathy, as highlighted by EY’s survey, emerged as a critical factor. Over half of employees perceived corporate attempts at empathy as inauthentic. To counter this, leaders must hone their interpersonal skills and practice genuine empathy through active listening and meaningful actions that support their team members.

The rising trend of employee surveillance software reflects a lack of trust, but leaders must shift focus from surveillance to outcomes and value delivered. Trusting employees to excel in their roles fosters a culture of autonomy and empowerment.

The disconnection between leaders and their people may seem vast, but thanks to research-based neuroscience, there are ways to help elevate the leadership and equip them with tools and strategies to bridge the gap between their people and the business needs.

Here are the 5 ways that neuroscience can help to support effective leadership: 

  1. Psychological Safety and Trust:
    • The foundation of a thriving team lies in psychological safety and trust. Leaders who create an environment where individuals feel safe expressing thoughts and ideas unlock creativity and enhance performance. Trust becomes the driving force propelling teams towards remarkable results.
  2. Self-Regulation:
    • Great leaders view themselves as scientists of their own experiments. Embracing self-reflection, continuous improvement, and learning from failures form the bedrock of self-regulation. This commitment to personal growth sets the stage for both personal and professional development.
  3. Empathy as a Superpower:
    • Empathy is not merely a desirable trait but an essential tool in a leader’s toolkit. By genuinely understanding and connecting with their team members’ emotions, leaders cultivate a supportive culture that nurtures individual growth and builds strong relationships.
  4. Human-Centred Design:
    • Exceptional leaders prioritise people by embracing human-centred design principles. Decisions, strategies, and solutions are tailored to meet the needs and aspirations of teams, customers, and stakeholders. Placing people at the core ensures resonance and relevance in leadership actions.
  5. Synergistic Collaboration:
    • Collaboration is a potent force that knows no bounds. Strong leaders foster an environment promoting diverse perspectives, teamwork, and collective intelligence. Synergistic collaboration amplifies creativity, innovation, and problem-solving capabilities within teams.

Transformative leaders inspire, trust, empathise, design with people in mind, and foster collaboration. This is possible with the right mindset, tools and support from the people behind them. 

Whether you’re in a leadership role or reporting to one, you can shape how leaders lead businesses.

Keen to learn more?

We teach the power of collaboration, co-design, and co-creation in our courses. Go to to find out more. 

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