In recent months – years even - examples of both good and bad leadership styles have dominated the news agenda. The question of what really makes a good leader is the subject of numerous debates – with everyone from political party leaders to start-up CEOs implicated.
But so often the actual substance of what enables individuals to be a positive influence, and to achieve things through those around them, is overlooked. To try and bring the focus back to the unique, tangible qualities that make up the best leaders, we wanted to drill down into the skills, behaviours and learning that sit behind what we mean by ‘leader’.
ILM’s research, based on responses from over 2000 UK employees in full and part-time work, looks in detail at what it is that people value in the workplace, and the capabilities that enable people to work effectively.
In the first instalment of this research, we’ve uncovered a trend spreading across the UK workforce of ‘Contagious Leadership’.
The ripple effect: contagious leadership behaviours infiltrate organisations
74% of UK professionals told us that they actively mirror the leadership styles of those they work with, including both those that are positive and those that could be negative. What’s more, individuals do not discriminate between seniority, rank, or age when it comes to choosing who they emulate but are susceptible to copying the behaviours of all those they work with regardless of expertise or experience. This underlines the importance of employees at every level developing good leadership skills that will influence those around them.
Read the full press release here
Despite the prevalence of UK workers learning by example from their colleagues, the research also found that most employees would prefer more formal training and development when it comes to acquiring new skills and capabilities. When properly managed, emulation can be a highly valuable way for people to learn.
However, it is important that organisations do not rely on contagion to upskill employees; with bad habits as likely to spread as good, it is vital that employees at every level of an organisation understand, develop and role model positive leadership skills. By utilising more formal training systems that employees value so highly, businesses can feel confident that their employees will be embodying and transferring to others the qualities they really need for success.
Leadership at all levels
To find out more about the different types of leadership qualifications, training and learning that we offer to everyone from apprentices, to board members of major organisations, and for all sectors, visit our Working with ILM page on our site, or check out details of ILM programmes here:
Take a look at our guide on Addressing the leadership lag