• Jun 20 2023

ExecOnline and the Center for Creative Leadership Identify 3 Critical Tensions Workplace Leaders Face Today

New research from ExecOnline, the pioneer of online leadership development, and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)®, a top-ranked, global non-profit provider of leadership development, has identified 3 primary leadership tensions that are creating obstacles for both leaders and organizations in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

Results of more than 43,000 leaders surveyed globally show clear patterns. According to the joint findings in a new research insights paper titled “3 Tensions Leaders Should Resolve in 2023,” professionals are grappling with 3 critical tensions:

  • Leaders want to work virtually – but it’s socially isolating: 75% of leaders reported that they appreciate the time saved by avoiding a commute and most also welcome added flexibility; however, more than half (53%) of leaders surveyed identified difficulty building relationships as a major barrier to effective virtual or hybrid work.
  • Leaders want more development opportunities – but they are burned out: 41% of leaders said they want more learning and development opportunities – second only to the 46% who said they need more resources. Yet, 72% of leaders say they are at least somewhat burned out, so fitting in development may seem overwhelming.
  • Leaders need to make hard decisions – but they also need to motivate and engage talent: With a near consensus about a pending recession, but facing an ongoing battle for talent, nearly half of leaders (48%) said they struggle to motivate employees without monetary incentives, while 44% cited the challenge of managing workload with a smaller team. Over time, survey results show the desire for better reward structures ticking up steadily from Q1 2021 to Q4 2022. 

“This research underscores that these three workplace tensions are becoming increasingly important in today’s workplace,” said Jean Leslie, co-author of the paper and Senior Fellow at CCL. “Leaders who are able to successfully resolve these tensions will be better positioned to lead their organizations to success.”

ExecOnline and CCL recognize the pressing need for leaders to develop new skills and adapt their leadership approaches to thrive in the dynamic and complex global marketplace. The new research paper includes actionable insights for organizations in resolving these tensions, including:

  • Invest in virtual collaboration and communication technologies to help leaders balance the benefits of working virtually with the human connections they crave. 
  • Offer continuous development opportunities, including integrating easy-to-access, short learning sessions, along with leadership coaching, to make development more manageable for already-stretched leaders.
  • Reprioritize leadership development programs to focus on the most critical capabilities for today’s workplace — both strategic thinking and talent engagement skills — to ensure leaders can lead effectively and empathetically.

“Leadership development improves leaders’ confidence and ability to overcome daily challenges,” said Adam Brinegar, co-author of the paper and Head of Research and Advisory at ExecOnline. “When organizations unlock the force-multiplying power of continuous, on-demand learning and coaching at their organization, their leaders see greater impact and are 1.5X more likely to apply learnings into their daily workflow.”

On July 20, 2023, CCL and ExecOnline will host a webinar to explore the findings and recommendations more fully in “3 Tensions Leaders Should Resolve in 2023.” To learn more and to register, visit: ccl.org/webinars/3-tensions-facing-workplace-leadership-in-2023/

For more details, download the full 3 Tensions Leaders Should Resolve in 2023 research insights paper.

About ExecOnline

As the pioneer of online leadership development for enterprises, ExecOnline connects all leaders to their future potential. Since 2012, ExecOnline has delivered career-enhancing opportunities to more than 100,000 leaders in over 100 countries through its integrated learning and coaching solutions that empower organizations to build, scale, and measure the impact of world-class leadership development. In partnership with the world’s top business schools, such as Berkeley Haas, Chicago Booth, Columbia, UVA Darden School of Business, Tuck at Dartmouth, Duke CE, IMD, Ivey, MIT Sloan, Stanford GSB, Wharton and Yale, ExecOnline designs high-impact programs for busy leaders using its Learn by Doing with Impact methodology of applied learning. Through individual and group coaching, its global network of certified coaches helps accelerate the development of critical leadership capabilities.

Named by Forbes as a “Technology Company to Watch” and “America’s Best Startup Employer,” ExecOnline is a member of the World Economic Forum New Champions Community. ExecOnline co-founder and CEO Stephen Bailey was recognized as an EY Entrepreneur of the Year New York 2022 Award Winner. 

Follow ExecOnline on LinkedIn and Twitter. Visit execonline.com to learn more.

About Center for Creative Leadership

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)® is a top-ranked, global provider of leadership development. Over the past 50+ years, we’ve worked with organizations of all sizes from around the world, including more than 2/3 of the Fortune 1000. Our cutting-edge solutions are steeped in extensive research and our work with hundreds of thousands of leaders at all levels. 

Follow CCL on LinkedIn. Visit ccl.org to learn more.