Adult supervision

We don’t usually hear leadership referred to as adult supervision.

But the level of leadership some in leadership positions have reduced themselves to requires others to exert supervision. Like an adult does for a child.

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I guess we should be grateful that in the most powerful democracy we have some adults!

Stephen

Imagine if Trump lived here!

Imagine if Trump settled in New Zealand. Shiny white teeth and big hair, he’d toy with an election or two, but not really go anywhere, then when the moment was right, leap to the top.

Crowds would gather on Wynyard Wharf “Trump for PM!” on their T-shirts. Massive promises would be made, probably about things that were already underway or not possible.

Supporters would have a crack at Bill English – after all he represented all that was wrong with politics – which was mainly that it was way too boring, like Hillary. That wouldn’t be the main accusation though. Trump’s supporters would drag up some ancient email server-type scandal – say Bill’s housing allowance – that was, like Hillary’s emails, thoroughly investigated and dispatched. Criminal! You’d see it all over social media “Should be in Jail!”. Trump would remain silent on the issue as his supporters were doing all the heavy lifting. He’d know very well that whatever the truth of the matter, if you said it loud enough it became the truth.

He’d look for an enemy. Farmers would be a good start – after all they wreck the environment and drive Range Rovers – “Tax their water!” and throw in Chinese water-bottlers, who, despite using only 0.01% of NZ’s water were a convenient reach out to those who have supported racist policies. Full-blown attacks on immigrants would come later. Like the manufacturing job losses back home, he’d work out quickly that it was also the Chinese here who were responsible for New Zealand’s housing and and related poverty woes. And obviously Bill and his mates were in cahoots with them and got donations from them, no doubt.

The debates would be planned. He’d be new and exciting against boring (CRIMINAL!) Bill. His supporters would start campaigns against the media. On-line campaigns would rage to have any debate hosts who didn’t support him removed. Supporters would find a local news outlet that supported Bill and do a Clinton Network News on them, so to speak.  Maybe “National’s Boring Rag” would work!

Bill would bring his mate Sir John in to help. Just like Hillary who tried rolling President Clinton out.  Wouldn’t work though, the title would be like a red rag to a bull. “Another CRIMINAL!” his supporters would scream “wrecked the country and left with all our money!”. They’d allege he was responsible for a death somewhere just to spice it up.

His supporters, not initially natural allies of anti-immigrant and other populist policies, would subtly, then openly, embrace populist political parties. After all, there’s a criminal bunch on the other side who have absolutely wrecked the country, and we need their votes to bring the messiah to power. A small price to pay!

Might be a bit more interesting to what we usually have which is pretty boring, safe and secure.

Never happen though. We’re much too nice a people.

Have a great weekend.

Stephen

Is just being yourself authentic?

Sometimes on the Authentic Leadership Programme we discuss whether a toxic leader who acts out in his or her’s own so-called “authentic” leadership style is an authentic leader. This argument has special validity for a leaders with sizeable followings.

Cutting to the chase can it really be authentic to be toxic, petty, vindictive, micro-managing, untrue etc?

blehCan it be leadership, nonetheless?

We see political leaders in the US bringing together followers of an ideology. Some of those leaders appear very thinned skinned, prone to name-calling, vindictive and divisive – putting groups of people based on nationality or religion against their followers.

Can this be authentic leadership? Surely not!

I think you have to say it is leadership – not the sort of leadership many people find helpful, but leadership nonetheless.

What about authentic leadership? No, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Authentic leaders have self awareness and examine their own strengths and weaknesses, acknowledging who they are to their followers.

Authentic leaders are transparent.

Authentic leaders have a strong ethical compass that guides them in decisions and life. Followers will know that ethical compass and it will be available for scrutiny. It will involve embracing diversity, not engaging in toxic or narcissistic behaviours such as bullying or name calling.

Authentic leaders build a following on making their organisation or whatever it is they lead better through cooperation, engagement and empowerment.

Finally, an authentic leader strives to be, and helps others, to achieve the authentic human condition. That condition is something build on trust, seeking the best in others, relying on facts, high levels of emotional intelligence (think “social awareness” or “self control”) and seeking happiness, freedom and contentment for all.

So check, when someone says about a leader,”they’re just being themselves”. That will never be an excuse for poor leadership.

Stephen

Crushed in the rush

Ever since Helen Clark became Prime Minister (well I did religion yesterday!) the plan of attack by politicians when something goes wrong is to go on the attack. Murray McCully, the Minister of RWC2011 did it on Friday when 2000 people got caught on trains. The Transport Minister Steven Joyce joined the fray soon thereafter.  Mayor Len Brown was left to take responsibility and made appropriate signals that Auckland Council would look at compensating those who didn’t make the opening ceremony.

Crushed in the rush

If leadership is about being the loudest voice then central government politicians won hands down. In the crush on Friday night in Quay Street I felt part of something pretty big and powerful. People were in good humour and although it was a bit overwhelming it was worthwhile to experience it first hand.  Unfortunately those people we saw from the bus on the stalled trains on Tamaki Drive on the way back, didn’t look like they had such a good experience. There were lots of loud voices in Quay Street, Hakas, cheering and laughter. If the loudest voices were the best Rugby players then Tonga and Samoa would be meeting in the final based on support in town on Friday.

But the loudest voice isn’t always the strongest leader. What will come to repair the image of a failed transport system (and stop it failing again of course) will come from leadership that looks at itself, takes responsibility and leads to new action. I get a sense that’s been happening after the initial crush in the rush to blame.

Us ordinary folk took the lead and used public transport. Maybe it’s time for those pointing fingers to give it a shot too. That would be another type of crush that they could learn from.

Stephen