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The key to re-building confidence in leadership in 2022

Even the most progressive organisations are struggling to develop the impact of their midlevel leaders – their B-Suite – at the moment. As a result, these organisations have increasing issues with engagement, succession planning, performance or change. 

The B-Suite is increasingly the fulcrum upon which corporate performance balances – they are the interchange between strategy and execution and between workforce and executive. 

On the one hand, B-Suite Leaders need to be developed to meet the needs of today’s business velocity, complexity and rate of disruption. On the other hand, they are too experienced for traditional training, expensive because they are so large a cohort, and it’s often hard to identify high impact B-Suite leaders from the rest of the group. 

As a result, B-Suite leadership development is lagging, negatively impacting corporate results, change efforts, culture and engagement.  Putting it bluntly, 62% of CEO’s don’t think their mid-level leaders are any good.  

The new priorities

Company priorities are reconnecting, re-engaging and retaining their workforce: building back trust, resilience and relationships – and the B-Suite is key to reconnect the disconnect. They are central to rebuilding staff engagement, enhancing collaboration and driving accountability. 

The challenges 

Burnout is higher in the B-Suite than in any other cohort. 

  • 60% of leaders indicate that they feel “used up” at the end of every workday.
  • 81% say their job is harder: they feel more overworked (71%), more stressed (69%) and less supported (54%) 
  • 48% of them feel less motivated than in the previous years. 
  • Only 61% of managers say their workload is manageable versus 81% for senior executives.

Succession and bench strength is at an all-time low 

  • Only 11% of APAC companies are ready to replace their leaders should they leave.
  • A massive 37% of leaders don’t want to stay in management. 
  • Only 1 in 10 non-managers want to start a career in leadership.

They are struggling with engagement and collaboration:

  • Only 50% of leaders feel confident to lead today, which is the same low level of confidence that others have in them. 
  • Mid-level supervisors are 91% more likely than senior leaders to say it is harder to maintain relationships in the workplace 
  • Only 63% of them felt they could rely on their colleagues to support them, versus 90% of senior executives. 

Investing in your B-Suite is critical

After two years of disconnection in the workplace, the organic development of already-experienced middle managers has been sorely lacking.  They are no longer learning from their peers and their executives – their growth has stagnated.

Our typical investment in mid-level leaders is not fit to address these challenges. 

  • Most companies spend less than 10% of their training spend on leadership in general, and the B-Suite has to compete with C-Suite, Diversity, and new manager priorities, leaving a disproportionate lack of investment in the B-Suite. 
  • Only 35% of B-Suite Leaders received any coaching during their transition into an executive role.
  • 25% of HR Leaders do not believe they effectively develop midlevel leaders, yet 50% of them cite this as a top priority. 

High-impact Leadership requires mastering three critical functions. 

  • Control the pace of work – focusing on prioritising, negotiating and managing boundaries enables leaders (and their teams) to move from overwhelmed to confidently in control. 
  • Use the space to think – Mindset matters most, and by resetting the key principles for contemporary leadership, we quickly start to see more strategic, more agile and more engaging leaders emerge – building B-Suite leaders with C-Suite impact. 
  • Make the case with influence – a visible leader is a valuable leader, and mastering how they motivate, influence, collaborate + position is key to developing their ability to lead from the centre. B-Suite leaders are the key to reconnect the disconnect our workforces are experiencing. 

Overwhelmingly supported in research by Deloitte, the DDI Global Leadership Forecast and McKinsey, BoldHRTM‘s ongoing research shows that Managers who achieve mastery in these competencies are proven to be more productive, more influential and more strategic – re-building confidence in leadership and re-engaging discretionary effort along the way.


Written by Rebecca Houghton.

Have you read?

Best CEOs In the World Of 2022.
TOP Citizenship by Investment Programs, 2022.
Top Residence by Investment Programs, 2022.
Global Passport Ranking, 2022.
The World’s Richest People (Top 100 Billionaires, 2022).
Jamie Dimon: The World’s Most Powerful Banker.

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Rebecca Houghton
Rebecca Houghton, author of ‘Impact: 10 Ways to Level up your Leadership’ ($29.95), is a Leadership and Talent Expert and founder of BoldHR. Rebecca builds B-Suite leaders with C-Suite impact by working at an organisational, team and individual level. Her passion is helping to evolve how leaders think, take action and relate to others, working with leaders and leadership teams to achieve greater impact.


Rebecca Houghton is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn.