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Annie Hayes

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UK leaders honest but lack soft skills

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Leaders rate highly on honesty, integrity and delivery, but are less skilled in areas such as empathy and awareness of colleagues, according to a new study.

Nearly 9000 people were asked to rate their leaders – from directors to project managers – on 38 measures that define leadership. Overall, the results showed that women are ranked more highly than men.

Just under 90% of those surveyed felt that their leader is ‘honest and truthful,’ closely followed by ‘not taking credit for other people’s work,’ and ‘accepting responsibility for the actions of their staff.’ An impressive 87% of those surveyed felt that their leader ‘achieves results’.

However, colleagues didn’t rate their leaders so well on skills that require empathy. ‘Recognising and acting to minimise other people’s stress’ was ranked lowest and not far behind was ‘regularly communicating an inspirational view of the future’, ‘actively encouraging feedback on their own performance’ and ‘consulting those affected by a decision’.

The survey by the Campaign for Leadership coincides with Leadership Week (21-25 Feb). It also found that UK leaders seem to be a self-depreciating bunch; when asked to rank themselves over the same measures, leaders always rated themselves lower than their colleagues had.

Commenting on the survey, Ian Lawson, chief executive of the Campaign for Leadership, said: “While there is talk of confidence in our public leaders being eroded, at a day-to-day level, the truth is very different. People actually rate their organisational leaders very highly, although there is still room for improvement. High performance organisations understand that effective leadership creates competitive advantage.”

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Annie Hayes

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