Leaders give themselves top marks despite high failure rate in tech projects

Leaders give themselves top marks despite high failure rate in tech projects

Conscious Leaders, a leadership development specialist and authors of Next Level Leadership, has published revealing research on UK leaders in tech, in partnership with Onyx. The findings show that leaders have a high opinion of their own ability, giving themselves an average score of nearly 74% or 7.4/10 across nine key leadership traits. This is despite the high failure rate of technology projects and widespread employee disengagement in the sector.

This year the CIO Axis report highlighted the staggering US$2.3 trillion lost globally to unsuccessful Digital Transformation projects. In the UK there have been many high profile damaging examples, including that of the Post Office. A recent report by Gallup, State of the Global Workplace: 2023, highlighted evidence that as many as 72% of European employees are quiet quitting (i.e. not engaged), with 34% actively seeking a new job.

The Conscious Leaders research gathered data from over 200 leaders and hosted two roundtable events to provide commentary on the findings. Leaders were asked to self-assess across nine leadership categories. The areas in which leaders gave themselves the highest scores include:

  • Enacting a strong purpose – 7.9/10 (79.2%)
  • Building a sense of safety – 7.8/10 (77.5%)
  • Fostering a sense of equal belonging 7.7/10 (76.5%)

. They rated themselves lower on:

  • Leaning into difficult situations 6.3/10 (63.4%)
  • Self-management 6.7/10 (67.1%)
  • Deepening listening skills 7.3/10 (72.6%)

One area where UK leaders admitted to struggling was ‘leaning into difficult situations’ including difficult conversations. This is a key skill for leaders as without skilful difficult conversations (e.g. around performance or concerns on a project) minor issues will become major and the people and projects will suffer.

Tech leaders also scored themselves relatively low on ‘self-management’. Self-management is our ability to control our thoughts, emotions and actions in a whole variety of situations. Without being aware of the impact of our mood and behaviour on the people we lead, and regulating it as required, we risk creating tense working environments where people are afraid to speak up.

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