Brexit and Cameron’s Leadership (June 2016)
Before I went to Cape Town I said I was going to share the story of the missing TV. I had a lovely trip watching my son graduate, hiking up Lion’s Head and just simply spending time with him. Reflecting back I thought how eating was a thread that ran through the entire week: picnics in beautiful spots, take aways in the car whilst it poured with rain, ice cream cones whilst walking along the promenade and meals in cosy tucked away little restaurants. But no writing of my story.
Yesterday I woke up with the intention to write it. Then I noticed the time and switched on Sky News to see what was the outcome of the UK-EU vote. I was surprised. Whilst I was mulling over the “why?” and the “what now?” the Prime Minister, David Cameron appeared on screen to deliver his speech.
My mind raced off analysing him as a leader in that moment. So the topic of my Bumble Bee Insight has changed. But I don’t want to keep you in suspense so I first wrote the story of the missing TV and posted it here.
Brexit and Cameron’s Leadership
Many people have been stunned by the news that the people of the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union. This news was very shortly followed by David Cameron’s speech in which he stated he would be resigning. I don’t know if Brexit is good or bad for the UK, or for other parts of the world. Lots of people have opinions but noone really knows, only time will tell.
Putting aside the politics it was very interesting to listen to David Cameron’s speech and to explore what it says about his leadership in this moment, and about leading in times of change.
The day before the media were reporting the timeline re when the polling stations would close, when the outcome would be clear, and importantly when the Prime Minister was expected to speak. At times of change leaders must be seen and they must communicate with their followers.
When Cameron came out to speak he had a lectern but he was otherwise on the same level as the audience, physically reasonably close to them and he appeared comfortable to speak. His words were clear and easily understandable without talking down. His speech was short and to the point. Leadership doesn’t require the leader to stand upon high. A leader who can connect with his followers stands a better chance of being “heard” and of having influence.
In his speech he was candid about what he had believed was better for the UK and how he had wholeheartedly believed in remaining in the EU. And then he stood by his own beliefs and stated he wasn’t the person to lead the country into a new era of separation.
He is the elected leader of the country and he had promised the people their opportunity to state their preference, so one could argue that he should now lead them along that path. I personally think he is showing greater integrity by stepping down.
Even though he made his resignation clear he didn’t throw his toys out the cot. He didn’t walk out and abandon the people. He calmly explained that the country needed someone to stabilise it whilst a new person could be elected and that he would do that. I see that as being responsible.
He also said something which implied the UK would now do the best possible with this “leave” decision. This was also being responsible in trying to reassure the people as a whole, especially the 48% who voted to “remain”.
And lastly he gave an indication of a timeline stating that he believed a new leader should be put in place by October. Leaders need to be decisive and share their vision. He’d made a number of decisions: resigning and steadying the ship, and he shared a clear vision for the next step.
These are my observations and opinions of that snapshot. Yours maybe different. I’d love to engage with you. I don’t think good leadership is like a maths question with only one right answer. There are foundational basics and then there are nuances.
The World of today is a complex system different from anything that has gone before.Both political and business leaders can no longer use past experience and best practise to assure them of what to do next. A new style of courageous, collaborative and adaptive leadership is required at every level.
The more we explore what we consider to be good leadership the better we will lead ourselves and those around us; and the better we will attract good leadership of companies, of our communities and of our countries.
Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.
© copyright 2016 – All Rights Reserved
At times of change many of us retreat into fear. A new film has just been released which talks about moving from fear to abundance. This is very opportune. Here is a link to a free screening (available until 30 June on your own PC)
Quote of the day
“The price of leadership is responsibility.”~Winston Churchill