Could Women Leaders Have an Advantage in the Future? New Research From ASPIRE Seems To Suggest So

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ASPIRE, a world-wide leader in executive development, has just released its 2010 survey research. Based on the responses of more than 300 global leaders, “transformational” behaviors—such as long term vision, teamwork, empowerment and effective communicating—once considered the domain of women and a hindrance to their effectiveness in the workplace, now form essential leadership skills for the future of the global economy.

Once considered the domain of women and a hindrance to their effectiveness in the workplace, “transformational” behaviors—such as long term vision, teamwork, empowerment and effective communicating—now form essential leadership skills for the future of the global economy.

New research demonstrates that these behaviors, combined with new transformational traits such as ethical decision making and parenting skills, once labelled as “feminine” and ‘soft’, are now highly valued. According to a new measure, Leadership Intelligence, behavior like making that high risk/high reward deal in record time and never mind the consequences is out.

The ASPIRE Leadership Success Secrets 2010 Report: “Tearing Up the Rule Book - A New Generation of Leaders for 2010” is based on a survey completed by more than 300 global leaders from 30 countries, including 60% at Director to CEO level. This annual survey, conducted jointly in 2010 by ASPIRE, a global executive coaching and leadership development company, and Customer Interpreter Ltd., strategic researchers, is now in its seventh year.

Who are the most admired leaders?

Women and ethnic minorities figure prominently on the survey’s list of the top most admired leaders. Survey participants cited Barack Obama for his “inspiring vision, courage, intelligence and integrity”, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, for her “courage and pragmatic approach”, and a host of other political, business and sports leaders who they believe have a vision, stand for something and have made a difference.

What is now being rejected is untrustworthy leadership based on ego, greed or selfishness, and those who aim to divide and conquer. The survey’s least admired leaders list is made up almost exclusively of white males, either bankers or politicians.

“The old school style of many politicians and corporate CEOs is on the way out,” says Dr. Samantha Collins, Founder and Director of ASPIRE. “The time for a new rule book is here and women and men who operate with the highest integrity, think beyond short term profit, have a vision for the future and are not afraid to prioritize their family and personal life will not only survive but thrive in a new decade.”

Do women make the best leaders?

Based on the research, the best leaders tend to be female and they tend to improve their skills with age and business or parenting experience. Those who work in the public sector, professional services or in the coaching/personal development industry also rated highest.

The research shows that those who are seen to have the most leadership ability take jobs to make a difference and have a challenge in a company they believe in. They are frustrated by hierarchies, work-life balance and lack of opportunities to do what they came for.

Despite significant advancements, women are still underrepresented in today’s boardrooms—something that needs to be rectified, according to Dr. Collins. “This is not just a female issue, this is a leadership issue that needs to be solved by both men and women,” she says. “The time is now. What will you or your company do to develop the new generation of leaders?”

Everything you need to know about the next generation of leaders

The survey report reveals what respondents consider the top characteristics, approaches, behaviors, attributes and strengths are for the new generation of leaders. It also provides tips from respondents on everything from how to create strong teams: “Build an inclusive environment where each has a role and responsibilities that contribute to the final outcome” to how to be ethical in the workplace: “Don’t be afraid to say ‘I won’t subscribe to something’.

Finally, the report gives a list of the biggest motivators for the new generation of leaders (eg, making a difference, belief in the company’s direction, challenge, and company culture) as well as the biggest challenges men and women face in the workplace today and what makes them leave.

To download your complimentary copy of the full report, visit:

About Aspire

ASPIRE is an internationally-recognised and award-winning leader in executive coaching, leadership development, consultancy, events and research related to women as leaders.

ASPIRE has worked with more than 10,000 women business leaders since its founding in 2000 and its clients have included KPMG, Vodafone, PA Consulting, Freshfields, BDO Stoy Hayward, Colliers CRE, Yahoo, Aramark and many more.

REACH, a program from ASPIRE, was short-listed for The Santander Award, sponsored by Opportunity Now. ASPIRE also won Best Learning Program from The Managing Partners Forum in the UK.

The Aspire Foundation, the not for profit arm of Aspire seeks to make a difference to women suffering from injustice in countries within The Middle East, Africa and Asia. The not-for-profit foundation does this through mentoring and coaching programs for women working in charities, social enterprises and community projects in these locations. The programs operate through ASPIRE corporate clients offering their time as mentors and ASPIRE’s own coaches providing their coaching services pro bono.

For more information, visit: and

About Customer Interpreter Ltd.

Customer Interpreter is a strategic research consultancy specializing in understanding why people do what they do in order to help its clients identify effective ways to influence that behaviour.

Customer Interpreter works with blue chip companies, government departments and not-for-profits and has conducted projects in over 20 countries around the world.Their unique approach of structured social brainstorms and state-of-mind profiling allows them to discover insights and deliver actionable outputs.

They were nominated for the 2009 Market Research Society B2B Research Award

For more information, visit:


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