For Gen Z, a shift in leadership has occurred where influencing Gen Z’s has changed from experts who were older and authoritarian to leaders who inspire and engage. An effective leader is someone who can communicate rationally, connect relationally, manage practically and lead directionally and strategically. Effective leaders demonstrate not just IQ but EQ – they share knowledge and information yet understand emotion and connection.
A recent McCrindle Research study surveyed over 580 Australian on their desired leadership styles and the characteristic values they would like to see in their ideal leader.
Leadership: Most important factors in growth or decline
When asked to comment on the factor which has the largest impact on determining whether a business grows and flourishes or struggles and declines, the number 1 response of Australians, given by 38% of respondents, was that leadership and management determine these outcomes.
The tasks of direction setting, leading the team, and managing business movements that determine the success or failure of the business are primarily dependant on the leadership and management team, Australians noted. 34% of Australians stated that employees – particularly their attitudes and work ethics – have the largest impact on determining business growth or decline, followed by products and services (17%), suppliers and clients (7%), and systems and procedures (5%).
Leader authority versus team participation and ownership
Australians prefer greater levels of team participation and ownership over leadership authority. 57% of Australians surveyed indicated that they prefer a high level of team participation and ownership, compared with 45% who prefer a high level of leader authority.
The ideal Australian leadership is an environment in which team participation is encouraged and direction is given by strong leadership – only 3% of Australians indicated a preference for low levels of leadership involvement, and only 2% indicated a low level of team participation. In fact, when asked about flexible working options in the workplace, 96% of Australians deemed it necessary to gather and collaborate in order to achieve maximum output and develop cultural cohesion.
Ideal leadership values
When Australians were asked to rank the leadership values of their ideal leader, competence was ranked as the highest priority. Australians prefer a leader who is driven towards outcomes and objectives, with ambitious being the second-ranked ideal leadership value. Broad-mindedness was next on the list, with Australians desiring to be led by individuals who are open to new ideas, innovation, and change. Australians ranked caring as fourth, showing a desire for empathy in their working environment. Cooperation also made it into the Top 5 ideal leadership values, showing the Aussie desire for mutual teamwork.