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Leaders, your employees think you lack self-awareness. Consider soft-skills coaching for everyone

Seventy-four percent of executives think they are inspiring their employees, but guess what? Only 27% of employees agree.

[Source photo: Richard Drury/Getty]

Good leaders understand what their employees need. However, the power associated with leadership frequently makes it difficult to retain the empathy and awareness necessary to be a good leader. A new study by leadership development firm AceUp surveyed more than 600 people, at various levels of leadership, to see just how well executives are responding to their employees’ needs. Here are some key findings from the report:

  • The leader-employee gap is large: 74% of executives think they are inspiring their employees, but only 27% of employees agree. Furthermore, 62% of senior leaders believe they are doing a good job of retaining employees, but only 27% of employees agree with this statement. Meanwhile, 66% of senior leaders believe their company has a clear career path for each employee, but only 35% of employees agree with this.
  • Employees want compassionate leaders: Over half of employees said leading with compassion is critical. Only a third of employees feel like their leaders are equipped to handle the future of work. Over half of employees believe soft skills are necessary to succeed at work, but only a third of companies hire employees based on their soft skills.
  • Leadership training programs are scant: Only 35% of companies offer a formal leadership coaching program for employees—instead, 69% of respondents said managers coach their direct reports. However, 41% of employees noted that their managers had not received any leadership coaching in the past year, perpetuating the cycle of creating leaders who lack self-awareness.

“By investing in leadership development and career pathing, companies aren’t just future-proofing their organization in the new world of work; they’re also building a better tomorrow—for us all,” the study’s authors concluded.

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