The Global Leadership Forecast 2023: Fragile Workforce, Shortfalls in Trust in Leadership, and the Necessity to Develop New Skills

Global leadership forecast 2023

The Global Leadership Forecast to report series is the longest-running global study of leadership, conducted by DDI. The 2023 forecast surveyed 13,695 leaders from 1,556 organisations. This data reveals a fragile workforce that is struggling to trust their leaders and recognizes the need for new skills in order to succeed.


There are many results in this report that are concerning for organisations, key points are summarised here.

A crisis of trust

CEOs’ top two concerns for the future are Attracting and Retaining Top Talent & Developing Future Leaders. Unfortunately, due to ineffective leadership, many employees are leaving organisations; this includes both experienced employees as well as leaders themselves. Most concerningly, only 46% of leaders reported that they definitely trust their leaders to do the right thing – suggesting a crisis of trust.

Hybrid does not mitigate shortfalls

Hybrid work arrangements have has not been successful in mitigating shortfalls in the quality leadership. This is because hybrid work requires greater capability from leaders to navigate engagement and connection across remote teams. In addition as a result of the increased porousness between work and personal life boundaries, only 15% of leaders feel prepared to prevent employee burnout, as they struggle with their own feelings of exhaustion and burnout.

Leaders don’t feel a sense of purpose

Statistics in the report show that only 63% of CEOs and 55% of senior leaders meaning or purpose in their job. This is concerning because how can leaders share a compelling vision with their teams if they don’t believe it themselves?

A need for capability uplift

The report identifies five key skills needed for the future that I also often identify in my work with top teams:

1. Identifying and developing future talent;

2. Strategic thinking;

3. Managing successful change;

4. Decision making/prioritisation; and

5. Influencing others.

While 80% rate themselves as effective at one or more of these areas, only 12% rate themselves said they were effective across all five – demonstrating an urgent necessity for organisations to invest in development plans for their leaders.

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