What The Tory Leadership Race Can Teach Us About Leadership?

Published on 11 July 2016 at 5:02 pm #leadershipdevelopment #leadershipskills #lifeskills #negotiationskills #publicspeaking

Months of disinformation, dodgy promises and dubious claims on both sides of the Brexit argument, led to a vote to leave the EU. That was swiftly followed by the main Brexiteer 'leaders' (sic) doing a vanishing act to rival the best conjuring tricks of Harry Houdini or David Copperfield.

All of that led me to write my previous blogs on Brexit and Leadership and most recently on Brexit Fatigue. I didn't really believe that there would be an improvement of any kind in terms of what was going to happen next, so I'm not terribly surprised at the manner of the current Tory Leadership race (keep your eyes peeled for a soon to be written blog on Labour - no one's getting away with unsavoury behaviour in my book).

The question I ask myself is why in politics it is believed that the best way to win is to aim potshots at your rival/s. I guess because it works! I would love to see a campaign of any nature that did the following:

1. Articulated a vision for the future
2. Presented a plan of how that vision would be realised
3. Engaged with people on how they would specifically benefit
4. Listened to people's concerns and addressed them realistically
5. Offered immediate small steps whose tangible benefits were clear
6. Explained their own experience and how that would enable them to put the plan into action

The campaign would not:
1. Diss the competition on any level
2. As a matter of fact, barely mention the competition at all
3. Make unrealistic promises backed up by fantasy and exaggeration
4. Tell us how wonderful it will all be once they win
5. Use scare tactics

Dream on Jo Ellen.

If ever there was a golden opportunity for people to step into the increasingly-widening leadership gap and demonstrate their capabilities to steer the UK ship out of its current post referendum chaos, this is it.

Dream on Jo Ellen.

Instead we get calls for a 'clean campaign' on the one hand and cries that their words were misquoted and misconstrued on the other. It's still all about finger pointing and doing down the opposition.
Another set of disappointing role models one of whom is set to be our next Prime Minister.

Please! Put your attention where it needs to be and not on what's wrong with the other side.

Some time ago when we were doing a pitch for a big piece of work, the potential client asked us who our main rivals were and how we dealt with the competition. We answered that we didn't pay attention to the competition. Indeed, we have said on many an occasion that there are terrific training companies out there and terrific trainers. We don't need to bother ourselves with what other companies are doing because it's the wrong place to put our attention.

Our attention must be on what we have to offer, our ethos and ensuring that it aligns with what we do with our clients, our behaviour and integrity, our experience and expertise and most importantly, our people, in whom we are asking our clients to place their trust.

Focusing on what someone else is doing and then throwing brickbats at them, in our view, is not the way to do business. I want us to reassure our clients what we'll be able to do for them, how we can realise their briefs and give them the confidence we'll be able to do what we say we'll be able to do.

This basic philosophy has enabled us to ride out some extremely difficult times when we have tottered on the brink. Did we jump ship and throw in the towel? Did we slink off to lick our wounds and point fingers of blame when things were tough? Did we spend copious amounts of time bemoaning our fate? No we did not.

We sucked up whatever was going on, gathered our strength and got on with planning the next steps. We made mistakes, stumbled and fell; we admitted our mistakes, got up, dusted ourselves off and made another plan. We've been doing that for 25 years and it works.

This is good leadership.

Will we be seeing this in the run up to the Tory leadership election?

Dream on Jo Ellen.

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director and Founding Partner of Impact Factory