What Leadership Qualities Do Presidents Think They Need?

Company leaders want to further enhance their resilience to change and felt there were still issues with interpersonal communication.

What leadership qualities do presidents in company think they need? We have analyzed data gathered from surveys and self-evaluations of 270 company presidents.

In the survey, we asked the presidents to choose three out of eight leadership qualities which they think they need. We also asked them to self-evaluate each of these leadership qualities using a 7-point scoring scale. The results were divided into four groups as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Leadership qualities presidents think they need and their self-evaluation

*The leadership qualities are divided into four groups based on the average scores of "self-evaluation (horizontal axis)" and "need (vertical axis)".
Coaching Research Institute 2019

So now let us look through each of the groups.

Group A: Presidents rated their own leadership high and felt a strong need in "change resilience". We can learn from the results that presidents believed change resilience can be enhanced further even though they already have this quality.

Group B: Presidents rated their own leadership low but still felt a strong need in "development of others", "compelling messages", "interpersonal communication" and "directional clarity", all of which are qualities involving interaction with other people in the organization.

Group C: Presidents in this group rated themselves high in "accountability" and "self-discipline" and felt that there was no need for further improvement.

Group D: Presidents in this group rated themselves low and also felt less need for "delivering on tasks" compared to other leadership qualities.

In order to see whether the trends above reflect the characteristics of a company leader, we have also asked 1,900 managers to do the same. The results showed that "interpersonal communication" was the only leadership quality which turned out to be different, indicating a position between Group C and D. This may be a sign that presidents struggle to balance their responsibility as the leader of the organization and to effectively communicate with other people in the organization.

Research overview

No. of Samples:
70 company presidents, 1,900 managers who responded to the "Leadership Assessment"
December 2012 - February 2018
Survey method:
Web-based survey
Survey tool:

Leadership Assessment (LA) ("Leadership" categories)
・Self-evaluation: leaders' self-evaluation on their own leadership (53 question items) are averaged by category (8 categories, 7-point Likert scale: 1 Completely disagree - 7 Completely agree)
・Need: presidents and managers chose three out of eight leadership qualities which they thought they needed

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