High flyers start young on the road to success

A substantial number of the UK’s leading business figures showed their leadership potential while still at school, research reveals.

A survey of 105 chief executives and board level directors conducted by polling firm Mori shows that 90 per cent had held roles such as prefect, head boy or girl, or had captained a sports team.

Four in 10 had held three such positions, including five of the six women who took part, while only 5 per cent had held no leadership roles at school, the survey reveals.

The survey, commissioned by HR consultancy DDI, found that 70 per cent had been school prefects, 30 per cent had captained a sports team and the same number had risen to head or deputy head boy or girl of the school.

DDI suggests that is bad news for management gurus who claim they can transform people into textbook leaders.

It says it is clear that those who succeed do so because they know what they are good at and they have the confidence and perseverance to stick at it.

Steve Newhall, UM managing director of DDI, told the Financial Times: “Once the will and belief are there, it seems the skills are the easy part.”

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