Have you got the qualities of famous business leaders?

PUBLISHED: 14:26 09 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:28 09 February 2018

Mark Zuckerberg , Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg , Facebook


Rising at 5.30am, getting six hours’ sleep and starting a full time job at 22 years-old are some of the things influential business people have in common, new research suggests.

British inventor James Dyson British inventor James Dyson

The study, by Leeds Beckett University and recruitment company Pareto Law, examined 100 business figures and leaders from the past century, from Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to Sir Richard Branson and James Dyson.

On average, the business leaders started their first full-time job aged 22, reaching their prime career position at 39 while entrepreneurs who started their own firms reached their peak six years earlier, at just 33.

Of the 38 business founders covered in the study, 20% of them were in their early 20s when they reached their peak positions at the head of their respective companies.

Self-starters were more likely to succeed earlier in their careers if they went into technology, retail or politics.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  Photo: AP Photo/Michael Sohn German Chancellor Angela Merkel Photo: AP Photo/Michael Sohn

In terms of education, 53 of the 100 had Bachelors degrees, but only 21% obtained qualifications in the next level of education, including MBAs and PhDs.

Professor of Applied Professional Ethics at Leeds Business School, Simon Robinson, who worked on the report, said: “It’s important for people setting out in the business world to know what it takes to be a leader, and this research helps to show the hard work and dedication involved in becoming a success.

“The key responsibility of a leader is creating direction and involving others when determining that direction. Whether it’s people within or outside of the organisation, all stakeholders should be involved and enabled by a leader.

“The principles of great leadership haven’t changed, but the societal shift towards technology has given the leaders of tomorrow a platform to exercise vision and purpose.”

Microsoft founder  Bill Gates  Photo: AP Photo/Scott Cohen Microsoft founder Bill Gates Photo: AP Photo/Scott Cohen

Also included in the study were Oprah Winfrey, Jacqueline Gold and Margaret Thatcher, with the criteria that they must have a vision for their organisation and were able articulate that vision and encourage others to follow them in pursuit of their ideas.

The research found that less rest doesn’t deter tenacious leaders from achieving their goals, with people getting an average of six hours of sleep per night. Of those getting just four hours sleep, the majority are female, including Angela Merkel and Michelle Mone.

When examining rise times, an early start is key, with the study highlighting that the average time to start the day is 5.30am. The people most eager to wake were Margaret Thatcher and Indra Nooyi at 4.00am.

Despite leaders being incredibly busy, they still have time to get married, with people tying the knot at least once and having on average two children.

Sir Richard Branson Sir Richard Branson

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