Good leadership is alive and flourishing in today’s Britain according to our new study. However, contrary to the traditional view, modern successful leaders increasingly see themselves ‘leading from the side’ rather than the front – as coaches who bring the best out of their teams.
Our study uncovers a surprising number of similarities between leaders in vastly different sectors and organisations. A key attribute is how leaders react to setbacks – they are energised by them rather than daunted.
Many of the leaders interviewed pointed to a person or an event which triggered their march to the top. We identify the qualities that most modern leaders think are essential – a desire to make things better, the energy to change things, self-awareness and an ability to communicate and bring people with them. Interestingly, we also discovered that modern leaders don’t have heroes.
Leaders aren’t getting a good press at present. The widespread vilification of big business, criminal behaviour within previously trusted organisations and political corruption have all contributed to us being more critical of leaders and leadership. But our study shows that there are many good leaders out there.
Today’s best leaders are reacting against outdated models that don’t work in the modern world and are leading to less trust in leadership. Aware that they can’t know it all, they choose to make fewer big decisions and place more emphasis on building and getting the best from a strong team.
The current generation of leaders have a lot more in common than they do differences. There definitely is a way of leading that works in our modern world – and it may be the best model for the future.