Captains of Industry displayed school leadership

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A new report claims that pupils that display leadership qualities at school go on to be business leaders in later life.

The Leading Edge, a report based on research among British Captains of Industry by MORI for HR consultancy DDI reports that of 100 business leaders interviewed:

  • 70% had been a school prefect
  • 50% had captained their sports team
  • 30% had been head or deputy head of school
  • a similar number had been leader of a youth group outside school such as the Scouts or Brownies

The majority also reveal that a desire to lead started from an early age. Sixty-five per cent admit that they always wanted to lead rather than be led while nearly 60% say they have always been ambitious.

A talent for business is not the only interest of business leaders either. Almost half are involved in voluntary work, 40% are learning a new skill and around 60% still manage to find time for exercise such as running.

Steve Newhall, managing director of DDI, said: “There is a popular misconception that our business leaders are stale, pale males who play golf and watch their companies’ share prices - and not much else. Now we’ve shown that the reality is that many are those same charismatic characters we all knew at school who seemed able to pick almost anything up and become good at it are running our biggest companies today and still finding time for a whole range of other activities from the arts to charity work.”

The research concludes that today’s top leaders are those to whom others have always been drawn, suggesting that authenticity, and developing a leadership style that’s true to oneself, are also important predictors of success.

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