In Kouzes & Posner's‘The Leadership Challenge’ survey in 2003, people were asked what qualities they most needed in leaders.
The most desirable and essential leadership attributes were surprising, with 63% of respondents saying they needed leaders to be Competent. Only 63% of people felt their leaders needed to be able to do the job to be successful.
68% of people wanted their leaders to be Inspiring; over two thirds of them want to feel deeper emotions stirred, to feel the fire in their bellies that a motivational and enlightening leader can instill.
The wish for leaders to be Visionary scored a little higher at
75%, showing that three quarters of those surveyed want to see dynamism in leaders,
to see those in positions of power have a dream and keep an eye on the
future. This clearly links back to the previous point- how many Visionaries can you think of who weren't also able to Inspire?
Honesty was by far the most desirable quality- a whopping 88% felt people with authority should be straight down the line, fair, open and incorruptible. The need for trust is what drives relationships, whether affairs of the heart of in business. Without trust, nothing else has value.
So ten years on, do we think the results would remain broadly the same? Have the turbulent economic times of the past five years changed what we want in our leaders? Have they changed our own management style?
What do you look for in leaders? What qualities do you feel driven to display as a leader?
What are the best examples of leadership you've witnessed?