Ask just about anybody in the UK who they rate as the country’s best business leader and there is a better than evens chance are that the answer will be Virgin group founder Sir Richard Branson.
Britain’s bosses are no different. A survey of almost 1,000 chief executives, company directors and senior managers carried out for the inaugural International Leadership Summit in London found that more than a third also rate Branson as the UK’s greatest business leader.
Some 37 per cent voted for Branson, with 18.7 per cent voting for Sir Terry Leahy of Tesco. Dame Anita Roddick of The Body Shop come in third with 11.7 per cent.
According to Britain’s bosses, the single most important factor that makes a great business leader is the ability to inspire. Vision and communication skills also rated highly.
Significantly, the majority of bosses also believe that these skills can be learnt – or at least improved upon with the right training and development. Six out of ten of those surveyed said that individuals can learn the skills required to become a great leader.
How they voted: the full top 10:
1. Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group: 37 per cent
2. Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco: 18.7 per cent
3. Dame Anita Roddick, The Body Shop: 11.7 per cent
4. Stelios Haji-Ioannou, easyGroup: 9.7 per cent
5. Julian Richer, Richer Sounds: 5.8 per cent
6. Philip Green, BHS/Arcadia Group: 5.3 per cent
7. James Dyson, Dyson: 5.1 per cent
8. Barbara Cassani, London 2012: 4.9 per cent
9. Charles Dunstone, Carphone Warehouse: 4.7 per cent
10. Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP: 2.6 per cent