In a new ranking of how Americans see 100 prominent figures–from government, business, sports, religion, and entertainment–Emma Watson sits 46 places higher than Donald Trump. For millennials, the difference is even more extreme: Watson, an activist for women’s rights who delivered a powerful viral speech on the issue at the UN, ranks fourth. Trump ranks 91st, just above Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.
Enso, the creative agency that made the list, sees it as evidence of a change in how leaders get power. “I think it’s this epic shift that we’re seeing, from leadership being defined by wealth, status, and rank, to leadership being about inspiring people around greater values,” says Sebastian Buck, cofounder of Enso. “Young people, in particular, are demanding that shift.”
Enso worked with the polling and research firm Quadrant Strategies to survey 6,000 Americans in February about their impressions of significant leaders, from Pope Francis to Tim Cook. Each respondent talked about how aware they were of the leader’s purpose or mission beyond making money, whether that mission aligned with their own values, if they’d openly support that mission, and–if it applied–if they’d buy a product or service that the leader sold.
Unsurprisingly, there were political divides. Among Republicans, Trump ranked first. In the overall population, he ranked 61st, far below Obama, who made it into the top 10; among Democrats, Trump ranked 98th. But there were also significant differences in rankings if the list was split by the income of the people taking the survey or by gender or age.
Boomers ranked Tom Brady and Tiger Woods much more highly than millennials did, while millennials gave a higher ranking to Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, and Steph Curry, all known for taking stands on social justice issues, not just their athletic achievements. Mark Zuckerberg ranked 31 places lower with millennials than with boomers.
“It is striking that Zuckerberg is actually supported less by his own generation than he is by the average American and by older Americans,” says Buck. “I think that is a big problem for him.” As tech leaders have broken the public’s trust on issues like privacy, Buck argues that they need to listen to what the public wants and “not be quite so enamored with their own vision of an optimistic future.” In a previous survey that ranked brands by their inspirational value, Facebook also had a relatively low rank, at 57.
Higher-income respondents in the survey gave higher rankings to Tim Cook and Elon Musk than lower-income respondents. Women gave higher rankings to strong female leaders, while men were more likely to rank Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger highly. Bill Gates, who is first on the list, was a rare exception in that he ranked highly across divides of politics, gender, income, and age. “He’s an example of somebody who’s built trust by standing for more than just his personal enrichment,” says Buck. Others who made up the overall top 10, including Oprah and the Dalai Lama, are known for their emotional intelligence and leading with their values. Emma Watson, at No. 15, also fits that mold.
Trump represents a “20th-century archetype of leadership where it’s about wealth and status and bragging and self-aggrandizement,” he says. “[Watson’s] model of leadership is about educated talent, and values-oriented leadership, and championing causes greater than herself. I think she represents an emerging archetype of 21st-century leadership that has real emotional awareness.”