DDI carefully assembled a cross section of 513 leaders and 514 non-leader employees at U.S. companies and asked them matching questions. For instance, does the leader “demonstrate unwavering openness and appreciation for unique ideas and opinions”? Some 78% of leaders said yes; just 43% of employees agreed. Does the leader “urge employees to continually expand their understanding of business trends and emerging issues”? Leaders, 77%; employees, 51%. Does he or she “guide employees who fail or make mistakes to reframe the experiences as learning opportunities”? Leaders, 77%; employees, 47%. And does he or she “champion the merits of employee-initiated ideas to senior management”? Leaders, 75%; employees, 42%.
The study’s conclusion recommends that companies work to close that perception gap between leadership and employees and also build both top-down and bottom-up cultures of innovation, examine innovation at every corporate level, “ignite innovation action,” and work tirelessly at continually improving communication.