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Linkedin News and Leadership Poll

Introduction

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win the clients they need using "Value-Based Marketing" - an approach to marketing based around delivering value, demonstrating your capabilities and earning trust through your marketing.


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News

Linkedin News and Leadership Poll

Regular readers will know I'm a big fan of Linkedin as a business development tool for professionals (see 10 Linkedin Tips for Professionals for my guide to the best ways to use it).

I'll be doing quite a few more Linkedin posts in the upcoming weeks. Some of them will be further ideas on using Linkedin for business development. But some will be more news oriented.

The reason for that is I've been asked to blog about and comment on the upcoming Linkedin European Business Awards 2010.

As you may have seen in the press, Linkedin and Cisco WebEx are sponsoring these awards and are running a large poll over at www.linkedinbusinessawards.com to get votes for the Start Up, Leader, Business Innovation and Rising Star of the Year.

The judges for the Grand Prize are Pierre-Yves Gerbeau (of Millenium Dome rescue fame), Reid Hoffman (Executive Chairman of Linkedin) and James Campanini (Director of Cisco WebEx for EMEA and LATAM).

During the run-up to the awards, they'll be holding a variety of discussion events and polls. As a blogging partner for the event I'll be getting exclusive access to these and will also be able to pose questions to the judges. I'll be posting the results up here.

The first thing I've got a sneak preview of is a poll they've been running on leadership.

I don't claim to be a great expert on leadership, but I've run and analysed quite a few surveys in my time.

The basic question they asked was What do you think is the most important factor in Leadership?

The possible answers were:

  • Character
  • Knowledge
  • Communication
  • Vision
  • Drive

Very surprisingly, despite the dominant stress on Vision, Drive and Character in the literature on Leadership, the overwhelming choice of the 608 respondents (so far) was Communication:

What do you think is the most important factor in Leadership?
Overall Results

Overall Results: Communication rated most important factor in leadership

Does this really mean that communication is the most important factor in leadership?

Not really – after all, a poll is only telling you the opinion of people – it's not measuring which factor has the most impact in practice. But it does highlight something I believe is rather important.

In my experience, what polls like this actually measure is the most pressing related issue at the top of the minds of the participants right now. If you ask us what the most important factor in leadership is, or teamwork, or business development excellence; we never really give our objective, dispassionate view of the absolute importance of the factors. What we give is our view on what we are most missing out on right now.

In this case, the poll is highlighting that most participants see a problem with the level and quality of communication of their leaders (or they see it as their main challenge if they're a leader themselves). It's impossible for anyone to know for sure, objectively whether communication is more important than vision. But they answer with their gut feeling. And if currently they feel they're not being communicated well enough with, then that's what they'll answer.

The results were pretty consistent across gender, and also across the different sizes of companies respondents worked for. With the exception that communication was (understandably) viewed as even more of an important factor in very large enterprises.

Results across job role were similar too – with the interesting discrepancies that engineers don't seem to care about their leaders having character, IT people not seeming to care about them having a vision, and sales people not seeming to care if they had drive.

What do you think is the most important factor in Leadership?
By Job Function

Leadership poll: Engineers don't care about character!

Perhaps the most interesting result was the variety in responses across age groups:

What do you think is the most important factor in Leadership?
By Age Group

Leadership poll: 25-34s worry more about communication
There's a big difference between the scores of the different age groups here (discounting the 55+ group which is obviously a very small sample size).

It seems that as young people enter the workforce, they have a fairly balanced view of what is needed from leadership. However, those in their mid 20s to mid 30s are focused much more than anything else on the importance of communication with leadership (or the lack of it). Then those from 35 upwards are less concerned with communication and again have a more balanced perspective on leadership issues.

The results could be read 2 different ways.

On the one hand, you could interpret this as meaning that the 35+ group are more senior and closer to their firm's leadership – and so are being communicated effectively with, whereas the younger cohort of up and coming staff aren't.

On the other hand you could view it as a demographic shift. Those of us of a slightly older generation don't expect so much communication and interaction with our leaders. But 20 somethings are used to being able to connect closely with their idols through the media or directly via twitter, and follow their exploits and outpourings on blogs, comment columns and gossip sheets. It could well be that this generation needs to be communicated with more, and in different ways.

I don't have the answers to this, of course. But it's interesting food for thought.

I'll be doing another Linkedin post shortly with a quick hint on using status updates. And I may well have some news about another interesting poll that's being run.

Disclosure: I'm not being paid or given anything to support this event. I'm a big user and fan of Linkedin, but I've never used WebEx at all so can't comment on it's effectiveness as a business tool (although I might give it a whirl sometime in the next few months)

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Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

https://www.ianbrodie.com

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win the clients they need using "Value-Based Marketing" - an approach to marketing based around delivering value, demonstrating your capabilities and earning trust through your marketing.

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