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When it comes to being an effective leader, business executives are at the head of the pack. According to new research, business executives rank higher than anyone else — including clergy, politicians, nonprofits and celebrities — in their ability to lead and communicate well.
That's the finding of a new survey from global public relations firm Ketchum, which surveyed more than 3,700 people in 12 countries, including the United States, South Africa, China and several European countries.
According to the report, "Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor," people think business leaders do the best job of providing leadership, with 36 percent of respondents saying business leaders are doing an "excellent" job of leading. They are also most confident in business leaders.
At the bottom of the leadership list were celebrities. Only 19 percent of those surveyed felt celebrities were good leaders and 22 percent said they were poor leaders.
Leadership skills among various groups ranked as follows:
- Nonprofit organizations
- Religious leaders
- Sports figures
- Local community members
Poor communication skills were named as the biggest reason for poor leadership. The most effective communications methods for leaders are in-person communication and televised speeches, followed by print media and word-of–mouth, according to the research.
Fields perceived as having the best leadership include technology, media, telecommunications, banks and energy companies.
Based on the survey results, Ketchum came up with five ways to improve leadership regardless of what position is held.
Close the say-do gap: The world wants more than just a story. Leading by example, making the tough decisions and showing grace under pressure are all vital attributes for great leaders, Ketchum said.
Strong, silent types need not apply: Clear, transparent communication —including admitting mistakes — is imperative to effective leadership.
Don't sugarcoat it: People seek leaders who are willing to be honest about the challenges ahead, rather than holding back to avoid sparking fear.
Listen, analyze and adjust: Having adaptable leadership and communication styles are viewed as critical elements for demonstrating true leadership.
Want to be seen as trustworthy? Be trustworthy: For companies, trustworthiness trumps such attributes as quality of management, financial strength and innovation as representing the mark of true leadership.
Let them look you in the eyes: Personal presence and involvement in communication are key sources of leadership credibility.
Traditional is traditional for a reason: Personal presence through speech-making, broadcast media and print media prove more effective in establishing credible leadership than advertising, social media and digital channels.
Jeanette Mulvey has been the managing editor of BusinessNewsDaily since its debut in 2010. She has written about small business for more than 20 years and formerly owned her own e-commerce business. Her column, Mind Your Business, appears on Mondays only on BusinessNewsDaily. You can follow her on Twitter at @jeanettebnd or contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.