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Most executives lack the skills to lead in the digital economy

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Duncan Andison)

If you are a business leader, chances are your leadership skills are outdated.

This is according to a new report from MIT Sloan Management Review and Cognizant, which claims most executives are “out of touch” with what it takes to be an effective leader and remain competitive in today's market.

Based on a global survey of roughly 4,400 global executives from 120+ countries, the report indicates just 12 percent see the leaders of their own business as having the right mindset.

Less than one in ten (9 percent) agree their organisation’s leaders have the right skills to grow in the digital economy, and only 13 percent believe their businesses are ready to compete.

On the other hand, almost three quarters (71 percent) of executives believe they are personally prepared to lead in the digital economy, but score “significantly lower” when asked about specific digital skills like data analytics or advocating the use of machine learning.

The report sets out three types of leadership behaviours: “eroding behaviours” (antiquated leadership patterns), “enduring behaviours” (evergreen, time-tested attributes) and “emerging behaviours” (which include digital savviness and collaboration skills).

“Our experience suggests that the most advanced leadership teams are those committed to developing these 3Es in their organisations,” said Carol Cohen, SVP Global Talent and Leadership at Cognizant.

“A key to success is artfully introducing new leadership approaches that particularly appeal to a new generation of employees while at the same time honouring the time-tested behaviours and attributes that inspire trust, build a sense of community, and motivate employees to improve performance.”