On the eve of the general election in the UK, I sit in a different climate, contemplating the unknown, “What Next?” from elsewhere in Europe.
I have cast my ballot – using a postal vote – and know that I will be living uncomfortably through the next period of our democratically chosen government, whatever the result.
The election campaign has made me think, at different points of tension or crisis over the last 4 weeks, on the nature of leadership. Corbyn, Farron, May and Sturgeon have offered leadership of uncertain quality, I think.
The leaders of the four main political parties have been haunted by their pasts. Some of this has been of their own making. Declaring, “I will be, indeed, I am….” as a statement of intended conviction and promise – and then to not hold to a principle declared in another breath – has left one of the leaders looking unconvincing.
Another has said that they do want to be counted on to take forward their stance on national independence as a measure of their on-going conviction – and found out that when that is not the question….how can it be the answer? Misjudgement that renders them likely to be viewed as narrow-minded and out of context. Clinging on to “yesterday’s issue.”
Another has tried to be consistent with their principles and to stand by them while failing on simple details that undermine any sense of gravitas. Naivety is a characteristic that contaminates. However consistent one’s principles have been over time, it is essential to be able to empathise with the fears of others you count on, be it over humane, economic or social issues.
The other one has presented them self as having a fluctuating sense of conviction…I think this, and when pressed I have to admit that that conviction is trumped by this belief…This leaves me doubting his sincerity and believing his “convictions” are in reality manufactured to present the brand he is selling as current, relevant in today’s fast moving political marketplace. Not actually true to how he will act in role.
As a coach, I wonder whether the prospective national leaders have been asked,
“What are your innate characteristics?” “How will you be the leader that you want to be?”
“What can you learn from your competitors?”
When we dare to ask ourselves powerful questions, notice the power of the answers and respond, we can become the kind of leaders others follow. Those who know how to work with others.