Britain prides itself on its history of strong leaders. From Nelson to Churchill we’ve always had a bit of a thing for bold and singular leaders. Which is why it’s rather unfortunate that our future may hold a significant leadership gap.
American businessman Erskine Bowles once remarked: “leadership is the key to 99% of all successful effort”. Which by all accounts means that we should be doubly pleased that a report released by talent measurement firm SHL found that the UK is in the top three countries worldwide for producing effective leaders. A feather in our cap indeed. The fact it also predicts in the coming years our ranking will plummet is neither here nor there, right?
Whilst recognising what strong leaders our country currently has in its midst, SHL warns that there are colossal changes ahead. The UK is due to drop a staggering 18 places in the global leadership rankings, ending up as twenty-first overall. Hong Kong (here listed as independent from mainland China) is one of the few that come off worse, falling 21 places from its current place at the head of the table. Conversely developing countries Brazil and Mexico are set to leap up the rankings, gaining 19 and 21 places respectively and leaving Mexico as the new king of the board.
So, what must we do if we want to preserve our stock of leaders? According to SHL, the key lies in investing in learning and development. Developing countries will potentially see a giant leap in their leadership potential because their education standards are climbing and an increasing culture of entrepreneurialism is encouraging development of core skills. Identifying these skills, as well as employing data analysis and identifying areas that most require learning and development funding, could help the UK protect its characteristic leadership for years to come.
And it sounds like we could use all the help we can get...