GARETH Southgate, former Middlesbrough manager and World Cup hero, has been named the most admirable leader in the eyes of North-East youngsters, a survey has found.

Research conducted by the Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) asked young people in the region, aged between 14 and 18, what leadership skills they valued and asked for an example of a leader they most admired.

The figures showed 53 per cent of North-East youngsters said listening, empathy and kindness make a good leader while 15 per cent chose dominance and nine per cent chose ruthlessness.

When asked to name a well-known figure they thought made a good leader, Gareth Southgate topped the list followed by Barack Obama, Harry Kane and Bill Gates.

The DofE said the modest, patient and empowering leadership styles these well-known figures adopt show that young people's attitudes towards good leadership are moving away from former stricter methods.

As a result, the organisation is calling for young people to recognise how skills such as compassion, confidence, and resilience are crucial to their future success.

Sarah Willingham, entrepreneur, ex-Dragon’s Den investor and supporter of the DofE, said: “For too long, good leadership has been associated with dominance and authority so it’s brilliant to see attitudes changing among young people.

“Throughout my career, I’ve seen many examples of these traits only getting people so far, before they’re caught out, and ultimately, it’s empathy and resilience that tends to win.”

The research also found, however, that although attitudes are changing, young people’s opinions are not as progressive in terms of leadership and gender.

A further 32 per cent of 14 to 18-year-olds said that historically there have been more male leading figures because they are naturally better leaders than women.

This was evident in the list of top well-known leaders as the first five were male, with sixth place bagged by actress Emma Watson.

The study went on to find more than half of young people said they would like a leadership role in the future, but 30 per cent thought a lack of confidence would hold them back from achieving this.

Peter Westgarth, CEO of the DofE, said: “It’s no longer about being the loudest and most dominant person in the room – compassion, self-belief and staying power are much more important. Yet it’s unfortunate that so many young people lack confidence in their ability to become leaders.

“The DofE is passionate about equipping young people with the confidence and skills the research tells us are needed to become the leaders of tomorrow – coping with pressure and listening to others, while also being kind and empathetic.

"We want all young people to have that opportunity to thrive”.

Who is your favourite leader?

Who is your favourite leader?

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