Russell Reynolds Associates Identifies Clear Link Between Leadership and Organizational Resilience

Organizations that are prepared for external threats are twice as likely to be led by senior executives who possess three critical traits

Leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) released today its H1 2023 Global Leadership Monitor, which tracks threats to organizational health—and senior leaders’ preparedness to face them.

“Organizational resilience—the ability to weather unpredictable challenges and emerge stronger from them—is needed now more than ever,” said RRA chief executive officer Constantine Alexandrakis. “Organizations no longer face one concern at a time. They must instead deal with multiple complex and intertwined issues. And just like the turn of a Rubik’s cube, progress in one area can quickly undermine progress in another.”

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The Global Leadership Monitor surveyed 452 CEOs and board leaders, as well as 452 C-suite leaders and 563 next-generation Leaders (senior talent who sit one or two levels below the C-suite) across countries in the Americas, EuropeMiddle EastAfrica, and Asia Pacific.

It found that the top threats to organizational health over the next 12-18 months are uncertain economic growth (73%), availability of key talent/skills (72%), technological change (44%), changes in consumer behavior (39%), and increased regulation (39%).

Readiness to address key external threats is mixed, while a little over half (55%) of leaders believe their organization is prepared to deal with the top five priorities they identified, this means a substantial proportion of leaders are more circumspect about their organization’s resilience.

The research found how future-forward leadership can significantly boost organizational resilience.

Overall, organizations that are most prepared for external business threats are twice as likely to be led by senior executives who possess three key traits.

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  • Enabling change and innovation. Visionary leaders who commit to inspirational goals, and create a culture of curiosity that allows the organization to innovate and transform.
  • Navigating uncertainty: Leaders who are agile and who can confidently navigate ambiguity, and make decisions without complete information.
  • Creating value through others. Leaders who are able to motivate and empower others, and build coalitions of stakeholders across (and beyond) their organization to tackle complex challenges.

“Our research makes clear the powerful link between future-forward leadership and organizational resilience,” said Alexandrakis. “Great leadership is what will allow organizations to continue riding high in a volatile and uncertain world, so CEOs must not only reflect on their own capabilities, but also on those of the leadership team surrounding them.”

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