New Study From Potential Project Reveals That Leaders Are Alarmingly Out of Sync With Their Teams

As return-to-work plans are scrapped and employer trust plummets, leaders must quickly get on the same page as their employees

NEW YORK, Jan. 05, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Last month, any optimism about a fresh start in the new year quickly evaporated as Omicron-fueled surges sidelined holiday gatherings, disrupted air travel, and drove major corporations, including Apple, Goldman Sachs, and CNN, to once again suspend back-to-the office plans. This is another blow to the already fragile morale of employees who are feeling exhausted and disconnected from two years of pandemic uncertainty and disruption. And employer trust is plummeting amidst all of the pivoting. 

Remote and hybrid work will be the go-to models for the foreseeable future, requiring strong and connected leaders who can lift morale and inspire employees. But the latest study by Potential Project found that many leaders are not measuring up, with 55% either lacking in compassion or completely unaware of how they are doing in the eyes of their employees.

The Human Leader study, which surveyed more than 2,000 participants from more than a dozen industries, found that when leaders and employees are on the same page, with a shared view of how things are going, there are stronger levels of commitment and performance all around. For example:

  • When leaders view themselves as compassionate and their employees agree, employees experience a 10% reduction in burnout, 11% higher job satisfaction, and 10% higher commitment to the organization. 
  • When leaders underestimate how compassionate they are, rating themselves less favorably than their employees, their leadership efficacy drops by 12%, intent to quit goes up by 6%, and the leader burnout rate goes up by 15%.

"Leadership is not a one-way street. It's a relationship in which both sides need to feel understood and connected. Right now, with remote work, hybrid work, and pandemic-related workplace upheaval, it can be very hard for leaders to get on the same page as their teams," said Rasmus Hougaard, CEO of Potential Project. "Leaders need to be much more honest when evaluating their strengths and intentional about checking in with their teams. When there is a shared and accurate understanding of the relationship, both sides experience positive outcomes." 

For leaders serious about getting in sync with their teams, Potential Project found that practicing mindfulness is a great way to help leaders spend less time acting and more time being fully present with their teams. When leaders are mindfully present in a situation, their best traits shine through and the connectedness with their team multiplies. Leaders who are most in sync with their teams are 1.6 times more likely to practice mindfulness on a regular basis.

About Potential Project and Rasmus Hougaard

Potential Project is a global research, leadership development, and consulting firm that partners with organizations to uncover the power of the mind — how it is wired and how to rewire it for new behaviors and different outcomes. Potential Project is present in 28 countries with a network of 200 consultants and facilitators and serves hundreds of forward-thinking companies like Accenture, IKEA, Unilever, Cisco, LEGO, and Microsoft. 

Rasmus Hougaard is the co-author of Compassionate Leadership: How to Do Hard Things in a Human Way, an upcoming book co-authored with Potential Project's North American Director Jacqueline Carter. The book provides proprietary research and case studies exploring how leaders can build their own capacity for wisdom and compassion to boost their companies' productivity and morale. The book — published by the Harvard Business Review — is now available for pre-order ahead of its launch on Jan. 18, 2022.

For more information on Potential Project, visit our website or follow us on LinkedIn.

Contact: Paula Kelley, Global Marketing Director: 

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