PART 1: What Brexit and the U.S. Elections can teach us about Leadership

November 4, 2016 12:29 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Look at the last 6 months in politics. There can rarely have been a time when so much has proved unpredictable. Brexit U.S. Elections teach LeadershipIn June we had a vote to leave the EU that the government was sure it would win, and daily contradictions since then about whether Brexit is going to prove good or bad for the country.

Right now, we are witnessing one of the nastiest American election campaigns in history where, for many people, it is about choosing the lesser of two evils. One quote from a voter was ‘I am being asked to choose between a clown and a crook’.

One thing is certain, we are moving into a new political landscape. People are voting to move away from something they don’t like rather than towards something they think will be better. This reflects a population who feel let down and lied to by the establishment; their only outlet being to vote for something different.

Much of this can be put down to the current culture of ‘multiple truths’. Political leaders are skilled in spinning stories to suit their objectives. One side says that leaving the EU will save us £X, the other that leaving the EU will cost us £Y. Neither knows what the truth is but both state their cases as if they do. The Result – the electorate become frustrated, finding it hard to establish the actual truth, which creates ‘gut’ voting rather than rational voting.

Political leaders have forgotten the golden rule of politics, ‘ always remember you are a servant of the people who elected you’. Stay in touch with how your constituents are feeling and never take for granted the power you have been given. People have lost trust in politicians in general and see them as dishonest and inauthentic.

This can be mirrored in leadership. Although the democratic process to elect or remove leaders doesn’t apply, if the people you lead feel disenfranchised, you can experience push back and unpredictability. If they feel that you are not being truthful, they can withhold their discretionary effort or resist changes that are proposed. Whatever reaction they have, it is bound to result in harder work to get the best from your people.

Political leaders in the UK and USA are being given a metaphorical ‘bloody nose’ by the electorate, and there are likely to be more decisions like this across Europe and the rest of the world. Don’t make the same mistakes in your leadership. Engage your people, be authentic and show them that you need them on side to deliver exceptional performance.

Check in soon for the next blog featuring tips to help you achieve authentic leadership.

If you would like to know more about how to unlock the Authentic Leadership in your organisation, book yourself on our two day Open Leadership Development Workshop. We’ll take you through our award winning approach to leadership development or contact David Tomkinson on 07710 003029

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This post was written by David Tomkinson

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