The Work Foundation is looking for SME bosses to take part in a research programme that will try to identify the keys to great leadership in SMEs. The charity, which is part of Lancaster University, hopes to discover how investment in leaders can help SMEs continue their development.

The research will focus on companies with between 80 and 250 employees. Dr Wilson Wong, senior researcher in the centre for work effectiveness at the Work Foundation, says: “We hope to build models for outstanding leadership at an SME level. We are looking for participants from all over the UK.”

The investigation into SME leadership follows on from a formal study involving large businesses, which conducted 360˚ interviews with peers, customers, line managers and employees to identify what excellent leaders did well and what was considered outstanding. It hopes that replicating this research for SMEs will help bosses of medium-sized enterprises develop sustainable growth strategies which are currently outside their skill or comfort zone.

Wong says: “Many SMEs get to a certain size and then plateau because their leaders do not know how to progress the company further.

“Many company leaders do not invest in themselves or only do so vocationally. For instance, MBAs train in technical competence and produce risk-averse executives. Leaders’ investment must be in themselves – their vision and skills,” he says.

Any logistics company which would like to participate in the research should contact: David Shoesmith, or 0207 976 3574.