Most Senior Executives Are Better Than Most Other Senior Executives

A new Ipsos Reid poll does nothing to shake the common impression that modesty is not the chief virtue of corporate leaders. Conducted in the U.S. and Canada among senior executives of companies with at last 1,000 employees worldwide, it found 74 percent rating their overall performance on the job “as better than that of other executives in their industry.” Even more (89 percent) said they’re better than others in their “ability to collaborate with others on their team”; 79 percent said they’re better at demonstrating “awareness of the issues and challenges facing their employees.”

In its analysis of the polling (fielded for Refinery Leadership Partners Inc.), Ipsos Reid spoils the party with this tactless observation: “The high numbers suggest senior executives may have an overly high estimation of their leadership qualities, as not everyone can be performing better than everyone else.”

Be that as it may, the poll did find that leadership development “is a priority for senior executives.” Among the bits of evidence for this, 82 percent said they place great emphasis on developing the leadership skills of managers, and 61 percent said “their own leadership development is a priority.”

In fact, 89 percent have participated in “leadership development activities” within the past 12 months, including the 57 percent who’ve done time in seminars/conferences/meetings, the 28 percent who’ve taken “educational programs/courses,” the 19 percent who’ve “read about leadership” and the 9 percent who’ve “participated in workshops.”