The Future Of Leadership 2021 Survey Results

The Future Of Leadership newsletter explores the intersection of leadership, business building and psychology. Keen to get to a better understanding of the circa 1,000 individuals who read it each month, in April 2021 I sent out a short survey. Forty six people very kindly responded. Here’s what I discovered about my readers and the future of leadership!

Please note that, based on the sample size, these findings are not statistically significant, but do hopefully provide some interesting anecdotes about what the future of leadership looks like.

1. Professionally, what one category do you predominantly fall into?

Takeaway: healthy readership split between startup entrepreneurs and high-growth technology-types (one third), corporate readers (one third), plus a range of other backgrounds (one third).

2. Which themes and topics interest you most?

Takeaway: general interest across all themes and topics. More people than in any other category stated that they were not interested in Diversity & Inclusion. Interestingly, when these results were compared by gender, it was all men who said they weren’t interested. We’ve got some serious work to do here, chaps!

3. Which types of content interest you most?

Takeaway: general interest across a range of content. You’re less interested in podcasts, so I’ll include just one recommendation from now on.

4. What is it about the newsletter you most enjoy?

Takeaway: readers most enjoy fresh and alternative insights and perspectives, and book recommendations. Noted for future editions!

5. What suggestions do you have to make the newsletter better?

There’s selection bias when you ask loyal readers of your newsletter to answer this question. The people I also need to ask are those who have unsubscribed, but alas, I can’t. That said, you made some great suggestions, over and above keeping up the good work, summarised here:

More frequent!
Link to an Instagram account, to go with text heavy newsletter  [my personal Instagram is here]
A number of comments around length and focus: “Sometimes overwhelming. I want to read it but think it might take too long. Maybe shorter text and links to longer version on website”.
Featured content from others in your wider network. Some online content too, bringing the newsletter to life!

Interviews with business leaders or entrepreneurs
Collaborations and short video interviews
Linking ideas to reality. Examples of people using the theory in action and how it helped
Run a particular topic for an entire cycle (2-3 months at a time) examining different aspects of it through interviewing people across a sector
More engaging email titles
Don’t send surveys with such direct and simple (obvious domain) questions. You should be able to get this feedback in an indirect way, more aligned with the complexity of a newsletter dealing with complexity topics
😜

6. What other newsletters or emails do you love reading?

It’s fascinating to know where other people get their perspectives on the world from. In no particular order, here’s a summary of the other newsletters that The Future Of Leadership readers subscribe to:

James Clear 321, Not Boring by Pack McCormack, Reset Work, The Profile, Letters of Note, Jennifer Garvey Berger / Cultivating Leadership, Dave Snowden / Cognitive Edge, Robert Marshal (flowchainsensei), Farnam Street, Benedict Evans, Wardley Maps community, The Prepared, Welcome to Hell World, Why Is This Interesting, NextDraft, Exponential View, Ritholtz Reads, Arts and Letters Daily, The Conversation, Noah Smith, Deploy Empathy, Investing.io, Prospect Magazine, Tim Ferris 5 bullet Friday, Wired, Ozan Varol, Flipboard, Medium, Squiggly Careers, Korn Ferry, Morning Brew, Monocle Minute.

7. What does the future of leadership look like to you?

Takeaway: probably my favourite question and my favourite set of answers. Here’s a word cloud based on reader’s responses.

8. What is your gender?

Takeaway: with an almost two thirds / one third split of male to female readers, I’d like encourage a more gender diverse readership.

9. What is your ethnic group? (based on UK Government classifications)

Takeaway: with just over 70% of readers being white, I’d like to encourage a more ethnically diverse readership too.

10. What is your age?

Takeaway: a reasonable spread of ages, though it would be good to attract more younger readers (under the age of 30).


A big thank you to Stefan Manku for helping me design, deliver and interpret the survey. Reach him on Twitter and LinkedIn.