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Research suggests the ideal leader resembles his or her subordinates
by Brooks Hays
Washington DC (UPI) May 16, 2017


New research suggests the ideal leader resembles their followers, or staff, in appearance.

When researchers at the University of Exeter Business School and the Bradford University School of Management asked study participants to select photographs of an ideal leader, they found people had wildly divergent ideas about leadership is manifested in appearance.

But when academics looked more closely at the responses of study participants, they realized people tend to prefer leaders who resemble their own appearance.

"When we looked at how people described themselves and compared it with how they described leaders, we found their 'ideal' or 'excellent' leader was a mirror image of themselves," Sarah Gilmore, a researcher at the University of Exeter Business School, said in a news release.

As part of the study, researchers interviewed grad students about what leadership qualities they see in themselves. They were also asked to describe the appearance of excellent, average and poor leaders.

After the half-hour interviews, researchers had participants select images -- magazine cutouts of a variety of men and women, including different shapes, sizes, dress and ethnicity -- of excellent, average and poor leaders. Participants were also asked to explain their choices.

The results showed the participants tended to look for themselves when selecting the ideal leader.

"Those we surveyed who were fans of lipstick and nail varnish said an ideal leader would look very feminine, and those who favoured a masculine look described someone who was more of a tomboy," Gilmore said. "Those who thought discipline was a good thing chose people who looked commanding, and those who valued enthusiasm chose someone who looked enthusiastic."

Gilmore and her colleagues didn't make the connection until looking more closely at the relationship between the participants interview answers and image selections.

Ultimately, the study suggests there isn't a single, ideal uniform for would-be leaders.

"This shows in the absence of any clear idea of what a leader should look like, the best way to be the best one is to just be yourself," Gilmore said.

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South African cave yields yet more fossils of a newfound relative
Madison WI (SPX) May 15, 2017
Probing deeper into the South African cave system known as Rising Star, a subterranian maze that last year yielded the largest cache of hominin fossils known to science, an international team of researchers has discovered another chamber with more remains of a newfound human relative, Homo naledi. The discovery, announced May 9, 2017 with the publication of a series of papers in the journa ... read more

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