Thursday, 15 April 2010

What sort of leader do you want?

With the first of the televised debates between the leaders of the major UK political parties almost upon us, it’s a suitable time to ask the question of what sort of leader we’re looking for.

And although there may be more than just a few thousand miles of Atlantic Ocean separating the UK and our friends in the Land of the Brave and the Free, the results of a recent survey into confidence in leadership should offer food for thought to Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

The 2009 National Leadership Index (“A National Study of Confidence in Leadership”) reveals that:
69% of Americans believe that they have a leadership crisis
67% of Americans believe that unless they get better leaders the United States will decline as a nation
Only 41% of Americans believe that the country’s leaders are effective and do a good job
The six factors that are considered in arriving at an overall rating are Trust, Competence, Working for the Greater Good, Shared Values, Results, and Being In Touch.

And which sort of leaders do the Americans trust?
A great deal: only the military
A moderate amount: those in the medical and charity sectors, together with those in the supreme court, local government, education, the legislature and religious organisations
Not much: those leaders in business, state government, congress, news media and, bottom of the pile (surprise, surprise!) those in Wall Street
Trust in military leaders, the executive branch and business has increased since 2008, but trust in the leader of state government and Wall Street has plummeted for the second year in a row.

The report’s summary is pertinent not only for Brown, Clegg and Cameron and for US leaders, but also for all those in positions of authority:
None of these findings will come as a surprise to leaders who seek to retain the nation’s confidence. The ongoing challenge is to explore what it means to practice these broad leadership qualities in the context of one’s own sector and leadership journey. With the public’s confidence, there is much that leaders can do for the common good. Without it, the path to good results is much less clear.
National Leadership Index 2009

1 comment:

  1. Not forgetting that the public’s confidence must be based on truths and not perceived realities.

    Would be interesting to see how the American military fair in a UK poll.

    Perception is a powerful thing.