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York St John Business School heralds new era for leadership

More than 100 of North Yorkshire's business leaders gathered in York to discover the new rules of leadership, according to a top leadership guru.

Speaking at the York St John University Business School second birthday celebrations, the internationally acclaimed Professor Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe highlighted the need for business leaders to cast off 'old school' leadership methods and embrace 'engaging leadership' to survive the current economic crisis and meet the changing needs of today's employees.

Business directors, public and third sector managers from across York and North Yorkshire attended the event which, in addition to marking the Business School's second anniversary, introduced delegates to 'engaging leadership' - a style Professor Alimo-Metcalfe believes senior managers cannot ignore if they want to ensure their business operates at peak performance and gets the most out of the people they employ without decreasing their motivation and increasing stress.

Professor Alimo-Metcalfe has spent more than twenty years studying effective leadership and yesterday spoke about the findings of her three year long study, which demonstrated tangible links between employee engagement and high levels of team productivity. 

“Stress currently costs the UK economy more than £4 billion every year and there are no signs of stress levels amongst the working population easing,” she said. “In fact, as businesses start to recover from the recession, there will be even more pressure on employees to do more, often for no extra financial reward, which can only add stress. Add to this the fact that the most common cause of stress amongst employees is their manager, the case for effective leadership that both engages and motivates staff has never been stronger.”

Professor Alimo-Metcalfe told business leaders that the so called 'heroic' leadership style of the 1980 and 90's – which assumed that leadership was the domain of charismatic leaders at the top of organisations - is dead, and that today's employees are looking up to leaders who display very different characteristics.

“While we still look to 'distant' leaders for vision and charisma and although we still want to be inspired by our bosses, humility, genuine concern, accessibility and open mindedness are the traits that engage staff most effectively,” she said. “What's more, our research showed that engaged employees are more productive employees, delivering tangible performance benefits for the organisations that employ them. They not only get the best from their staff, they also motivate them, appreciate their contributions, and welcome their ideas, thus sustaining their efforts and supporting their well-being.”

Business School dean, Jackie Mathers, said feedback from delegates to the event had been very positive and that there’s plenty to look forward to at the Business School over the coming months:
“It was fantastic to have Beverly here to help us celebrate our second anniversary and share such valuable insights. Developing effective leaders is a vital part of the support we provide for businesses here at the Business School and over the last two years we’ve developed a strong programme of support for businesses alongside undergraduate and postgraduate courses, which have been very well received.

“We’re looking forward to taking this support to the next level over the next 12 months. We’re currently recruiting five new people to strengthen our team and preparing to launch York’s first MBA programme. It’s a very exciting time for us.”

For further information please contact Amy Hall, PR & Communications Officer on T: 01904 876466 or E: a.hall@yorksj.ac.uk