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Theresa Welbourne
  Theresa Welbourne

Confidence and Energy Levels of Business Leaders Are Down

8/18/2005 --

Less than 60 percent of business executives surveyed are confident in their employees' skills and their firm's ability to adapt to change.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Business leaders are less confident and less energetic compared with a year ago, according to a University of Michigan business professor.

In the latest Leadership Pulse survey of business executives, Theresa Welbourne, an adjunct associate professor at U-M's Ross School of Business, asked nearly 400 respondents about their levels of energy and confidence in themselves and their companies.

Among those polled, 53 percent said they have a high level of energy (compared with 62 percent in July 2004) and 12 percent said they have low energy (compared with 8 percent last year).

Confidence in their ability to execute their company's vision has slipped to 60 percent (down from 67 percent a year ago), while confidence in their firm's ability to change as needed has dropped from 65 percent last year to 56 percent now.

Confidence in the economic climate of their business has fallen two percentage points to 63 percent, while the confidence they have people with the right skills is down four points to 59 percent.

Although falling, confidence in their own personal leadership and management skills (88 percent) and in the overall leadership team of their firms (73 percent) is still relatively high.

"When we see confidence in all aspects of business go down, with the highest drop in the degree to which these leaders think their firms can change, we should begin to worry," said Welbourne, president and CEO of eePulse. "Many respondents indicated that leadership, culture and high-quality employees make them succeed, and they were concerned about people leaving.

"After years of not worrying about turnover, organizations are starting see good people leave. With the job market picking up, it will be difficult to retain the best talent and that may be why confidence is lagging."

Welbourne says that organizations should monitor the indicators of leadership health and make continuous adjustments to keep leadership energy and confidence in line with organizational needs.

"Firm performance is maximized when leaders are working in their productivity zone and confident that they can both execute their vision and change as needed," she said.

Started in June 2003, the Web-based Leadership Pulse measures the effects of key resources and confidence levels on overall business growth and performance. For more information or to participate in the Leadership Pulse survey, contact Welbourne or the eePulse research team at (734) 996-2321 or visit

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat
Phone:(734) 936-1015 or 647-1847