Disillusionment in political leadership highest in Western world, survey reveals

Disillusionment in political leadership is rife in the western world, while approval ratings for politicians in emerging economies remain high, a global survey of attitudes to leaders has revealed.

Ketchum survey: western economies rated political leaders lowest on effectiveness
Ketchum survey: western economies rated political leaders lowest on effectiveness

Ketchum’s leadership communication monitor has found that only a quarter of 3,759 respondents from 12 countries thought that leaders are demonstrating effective leadership in 2011.

The poll revealed that western economies, which have been hit hardest by the global recession and traditionally have a more critical press, rated political leaders lowest on effectiveness.

The survey indicates that while 25% of people in Europe and 32% of Americans rated their leaders as effective, 59% of citizens in booming tiger economy China hold this view.

Only six per cent of Chinese people view their leaders as not having shown effective leadership at all, compared with nearly a quarter of Europeans and Americans.

This marks a rise on previous years’ dissatisfaction levels – with 47% of people across the whole survey having less confidence in politicians than they did one year ago.

Ketchum global corporate practice director Rod Cartwright said: ‘Our study reveals for the first time the full extent of the world’s disappointment with its leaders across every category of human endeavour.’

Eighty-four per cent of people perceive communication as being ‘extremely important’ to effective leadership, while 56% of people view the best course of action to restore public trust was openness and honesty about the future.

The ability to handle crises calmly, make tough decisions and lead by example was chosen by 68% of respondents as key leadership characteristics.

The public finds the personal presence of a leader the most credible form of communication. Face to face contact (50%), televised speeches (43%) broadcast media (41%) and print media (43%) were the top rated communication channels.

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