New form of leadership needed say UpRisers

New form of leadership needed say UpRisers

March 19, 2012

Bedfordshire on Sunday

Published: 16/03/2012

We need a new form of leadership across all sectors based on emotional intelligence, honesty and putting community first.

This is according to three quarters of 19-25 year olds, from Bedford, Birmingham and London, who took part in a survey by the UpRising leadership programme at the Young Foundation. 150 ‘UpRisers’ took part in the online survey published earlier this week at the Harpur Suite, Bedford.

UpRising works with young adults from a range of different backgrounds to increase their opportunities to become tomorrow’s leaders. When asked who inspired them the most at the local level, half said their family. Politicians and entrepreneurs scored highest when it came to the national and global level. This contradicts the assumption that young people aspire to be like celebrities.

Asked what attributes were important for business leaders the young people chose being strategic, commitment and determination, and being academically bright. The question about politicians elicited a different response: 54 per cent said putting community first, 48 per cent emotional intelligence and 32 per cent integrity. A YouGov poll for UpRising asked the general public what is lacking in leadership; the most common answers were honesty, integrity and emotional intelligence. When UpRisers were asked the same questions they placed a higher premium on putting the community first.

At a special event on Monday night, 21 ‘UpRisers’ from the Bedford UpRising programme, funded by the Bedford Charity (Harpur Trust), told a packed audience of local public, private and voluntary sector leaders how they are putting their newly acquired skills into practice through four local action projects designed to help other Bedfordians get the most out of the opportunities the town provides.  

Bedford UpRiser Matthew Robinson said:“Since I have started Uprising my views on leadership have changed significantly. No longer do I perceive it as a lone dominant figure who is massively charismatic and uses it to great effect to persuade other.

“I would define leadership as: a person who is able to persuade and influence others to achieving a change for the better of everybody concerned. Possessing the qualities of humility and foresight to assess situations, and instead of always being the front man taking a back seat, slipping into a variety of roles in order for his goals to be achieved with maximum effectiveness.”

Alveena Malik, director of Uprising, said: “The survey is an important insight into what the future electorate, consumers and citizens are looking for in these times of unprecedented changes.

“The old forms of leadership, power relationships and influence are irrelevant to the next generation. It is important for all of us to take heed and start developing leaders who are relevant to a new Britain in a globalised world where old norms have failed and new rules of engagement in business, politics, media and public life are needed.”     

Lucy Bardner, grants manager at the Bedford Charity, added: “Lots of people talk and theorise about leadership. The great thing about UpRising is that it helps young people actually apply leadership skills to their own communities.

“Our vision is of Bedford as a place where everyone has pride in their community and is inspired and supported in realising their potential, so naturally we were delighted to learn that Bedford Uprisers think putting community first is so important.”