This may provoke some interesting comments and I hope that it does!
Over the last few weeks, there have been three events that have been really interesting to me to watch and I wanted to share my thoughts with you as it highlights Leadership in the modern world.
I am a British Citizen and I believe that the UK leaving the European Union is a great thing. There… I’ve said it and yes, I know this will be controversial; especially coming from an ex-pat who hasn’t lived in the UK since 2003 but the facts are clear:
- The UK is a democratic country
- The collective was invited to vote
- The people have decided to leave the EU
So let’s embrace independence, back the country and get on with it!
What I am really struggling with, however, is the fact that the political leader of the UK actually chose a side and promoted his views on the population.
As a leader, I understand that you shape direction and strategy; that you have an opinion; that part of your role as a leader is to bring people on a journey and align people to a vision, overall goals, and strategy…
While leading a democratic country such as the UK, can the leader really choose a ‘side’ and promote his/her views on the populous?
Is this ethical or in line with true democracy?
To add further complexity, after the vote was complete – Mr Cameron announced his resignation, two major leaders and influencers of the Brexit campaign, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage then resigned… Article 50 is now the big conundrum, which it seems no-one wants to take accountability for.
I wonder if Mr Cameron in hindsight would have been better off in positioning himself more along the lines of leading the country no matter what the vote was…maybe a more collaborative leadership style? Leading the country in the face of adversity.
Surely after being on the ‘winning’ side Mr Johnson and Mr Farage should have seen their roles through to the end?
We turn to a sporting event. A few days after the ‘Brexit’ we have the English football team beaten by Iceland: that well-known super power of football (or soccer). This, in turn, meant the end of their run in the European Championships. (Is any UK team now classified as being part of the EU?)
After the result, the leader / coach announced his resignation.
See the theme?
I turn now to the Australian election and I just cannot believe the lack of leadership displayed here. Please, can someone take responsibility to lead the country by example and not turn it into derogatory remarks against your opponent?
Although there has not been a resignation as yet, I fear that this could happen when the Australian public finally gets the answer from the recent vote.
In my humble opinion, Leadership should be about leading through good times and bad times. Resilience is a major trait, as is taking and accepting responsibility – these should be inherent competencies in any leader.
Resigning in the face of adversity is not a common leadership trait I have come across in any Leadership research or literature.
In the world we live in there will be many more challenges to encounter and we need leaders in all shapes and forms to stand up and be strong in the face of adversity.
I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes and look forward to your comments on this subject.
“Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.”
“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”
Stephen Cushion – General Manager; Consulting