New GE study finds Divergent Views on Leadership Development

“From Ground Floor to Corner Office” shows entry-level employees seek more authentic leadership communication and training from the C-suite

New GE

As companies and employees alike adapt to a changing work environment beset by return-to-work debates, AI fears and other challenges, a new nationwide study by GE (NYSE:GE) and global polling firm Ipsos found agreement in the need for companies to clearly articulate their approach to leadership, but divergent views between C-suite and entry-level respondents as to how successfully companies are delivering.

“From the Ground Floor to the Corner Office” surveyed over 250 C-suite leaders and 400 entry-level employees across the United States, finding that 95% of the C-suite and 81% of entry-level respondents believe it is important that a “leadership mindset” is communicated to all staff. Fortunately for most companies, 72% of respondents believe their organizations have this mindset clearly defined.

For the purposes of the survey, a “leadership mindset” was defined as the characteristics companies foster among employees to develop strong leaders who can help achieve business goals and ensure the long-term success of their company. Both C-suite executives and entry-level employees identified quality, reliability, integrity and innovation among the top characteristics of a successful company.

However, there is a clear disconnect between senior executives and entry-level employees on how companies embody their leadership mindsets:

  • Almost 90% of C-suite respondents say their executive teams embody their leadership mindset, while less than 60% of entry-level staff feel the same way.
  • Only 68% of entry-level employees feel as though their companies support their development as strong leaders, as compared to 90% of C-suite leaders.
  • When it comes to attracting the right leaders for their organization, 92% of C-suite leaders claim these characteristics play a role in hiring and employee evaluations, while only 75% of entry-level employees agreed that the characteristics are involved in their evaluations.

“The workplace revolution is reshaping how employees develop as leaders, just as it has reinvented where they work and how they work,” said Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President, Learning and Culture and President, GE Foundation. “In today’s rapidly changing business environment, entry-level employees value a clear vision and authentic communications from the C-suite, creating an opportunity to further inspire and empower the next generation of leaders.”

Companies that effectively promote their leadership mindset stand to benefit in today’s increasingly challenging job market, with employees more likely to view their company as on the right track and more likely to promote their company to others:

  • 80% of entry-level employees in the survey say leadership training is a meaningful benefit.
  • For employees who said they understand their company’s leadership mindset, over 95% say their company is on the right track and over 50% say their company is ahead of others.
  • Respondents who see and hear about their company’s leadership mindset are more likely to consider themselves company “promoters” (56-58%) compared to those who do not (21-23%).

GE will share these findings and additional insights on lean leadership and workplace culture as part of its “The Lean Mindset: The Pursuit of Progress” event in New York City on Wednesday, September 6. Over the past five years, GE has deeply embraced a lean mindset, with a relentless focus on continuous improvement that has provided its employees with the framework to develop its workforce and better deliver for its customers.

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