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What is Outstanding Leadership?

Our approach is underpinned by the findings from The Work Foundation’s innovative research study Exceeding Expectation: The Principles of Outstanding Leadership.

Taking place over two years, and based upon in-depth qualitative investigation and interviews with senior leaders, their bosses and direct reports from across a range of successful organisations, the study aimed to identify precisely what it takes to achieve sustained high performance.

The subsequent analysis enabled the construction of a powerful description of high performance leadership based on hard empirical evidence, and the identification of the key leadership beliefs and behaviours that have the largest impact on sustainable performance.

More importantly, it crystallised for the first time the subtle but very clear distinctions between ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ leaders, and provided unique insights into how those aspects of outstanding leadership might be nurtured and developed.

Those distinctions are encapsulated within nine underpinning themes of Outstanding Leadership, illustrated below - a more detailed description of each of these nine themes can be found here.