Two sides of a manager. The strongest and weakest points of Polish leaders. Scientists from Kozminski University researched what is building and what is destroying Polish leaders.


Lessons learned from successes and failures, ingenuity, setting standards - that is what develops leaders. The struggle for power, for access to knowledge, rituals in the company - this blocks leaders. 

How bosses see themselves and how their employees assess them. Does the management have the required competencies? The answers to these questions are provided by the latest survey conducted on a carefully selected group of 1000 people - nearly 200 middle and high level leaders (directors, vice-presidents, CEO's, managers), as well as their employees (at least 4 evaluators for each evaluated manager).

- Many experts stress that current organizations and companies are experiencing a leadership crisis, which in the long run may contribute to their marginalization - points out the co-author of the study, Paweł Korzyński, PhD from Kozminski University, an expert on leadership. - Leaders manage people from different cultures, regions, and generations in both virtual and real life environments. Leadership is much more unpredictable, complex and demanding than ever before - emphasizes Paweł Korzyński, PhD, who for several years, in parallel to his scientific work, has been involved in human resources management.


5 competences that make up a leader

The research reveals a leader's own image and a portrait drawn from the opinions of their employees. Respondents assessed the similarity of leadership behaviour on a seven-degree scale on the basis of 25 behaviours related to leadership performance (such as creating different action scenarios, supporting new ideas or setting ambitious goals). The questionnaire included a version for the manager's self-assessment and a version for third-party assessment (i.e. employees, co-workers, boss, etc.).

In this way, our experts checked whether Polish leaders set ambitious goals and high standards of action, or whether they were able to lead others. The study answers the questions of how the power of leadership is affected: competence, awareness of limitations and ability to overcome them. In this way, the 5 most important competences of a manager were defined:

  • Value-creation (setting value standards and behavioural patterns)
  • Anticipation (ability to predict the future)
  • Self-reflection (learning from successes and failures)
  • Visionary (ability to set oneself and one's supporters a vision for the future)
  • Mobilization (stimulating extraordinary commitment, initiative and ingenuity)

As the research shows, Polish managers have best developed their value-creating competences. Most of them have to work on their mobilization competences.


7 liimitations that influence a leader  

In the second part of the survey, the experts examined the limitations faced by leaders in their organisation.  Managers filled in questionnaires to identify concrete examples of limitations and how they could be overcome. On this basis, the strength of these restrictions was also determined.

It turns out that leaders have the greatest problems with overcoming political limitations, including power struggles. Secondly, they have to face informational limitations (lack of access to knowledge). However, they are best placed to deal with institutional limitations. 

Here is the full list of limitations:

  • Political (power struggle, fight for resources in the organization) 
  • Information (access to information and the possibility to store and process it) 
  • Emotional (attitude to specific issues in the institution and the leader's environment)
  • Ethical (system of norms and values, operating principles) 
  • Motivational (level of motivation and aspirations of a leader and his/her environment)
  • Cultural (patterns of behaviour in the organisation, rituals in the company)
  • Institutional (privileges held in the organisation)

Until now, there has been a lack of structured and precise terms for good practices in the area of exceeding own or organisational limitations. This project is to fill the gap in knowledge related to overcoming limitations faced by leaders - points out Paweł Korzyński, PhD.


About the research

The research was conducted from 2016 till 2018 by scientists from the Kozminski University, Anna Baczyńska, PhD and Paweł Korzyński, PhD, under the direction of Prof. Andrzej K. Koźmiński, the author of the book "Limited leadership. Empirical study". (Poltext, 2013). The work was financed by the National Science Centre.




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