Here we are on the 29th March. The date that the country has been looking to ever since the UK voted to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016. Well, it’s here and we haven’t left yet! Whatever your view, it’s clear that the process in the UK has been a debacle. We thought it would be incumbent to take a look at leadership styles and the importance of bringing a team together.
Leadership is defined as a process through which a person influences and motivates others to get involved in accomplishment of a particular task. So, what qualities do we look for in a strong leader? It’s easy to think of a list of qualities you would want; vision, passion, inspiration, good communication, ability to influence and bring people together, courage, but what about examples of where this definition and qualities have been put into practice?
It feels unavoidable to, firstly, look at the Brexit process. The EU from the outset looked like they had a plan. The leadership bought together 27 individual sovereign states. They listened to each of their needs and have worked together towards a common goal. They have experienced diplomats and have mastered negotiation. The EU political leaders set out a vision from the start, consulted with rest of the EU throughout and returned to them after each debate. They have succeeded in coming to an agreement.
By comparison the UK, 2 years and 9 months on, remain totally divided on a position. This has resulted in the government making 2 attempts to remove their leader.
On the 15th March, New Zealand witnessed a horrific terrorist attack on 2 mosques in Christchurch. This sadly resulted in the death of 50 people. In response, the countries Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, acted quickly. She did not respond with words of vengeance, in fact she has not focused on the perpetrators at all, only to say she ‘will not mention his name’. She encouraged the public to focus on those who lost their lives. A call for unity, calm and peace. She spent time listening to the victims, showing a genuine empathy allowing herself to be human. Less than a week after the attacks the government announced a ban on military-style weapons.
Jacinda Arden has been praised for her humility and morality in wake of tragedy. Her compassion, quick action and ability to speak on behalf of a grieving nation have no doubt helped position her as a strong leader.
Gareth Southgate’s management of the England Football Team is another example of excellent leadership. Famous for missing that vital penalty in the Euro 1996 tournament, he has had to overcome negativity and the huge pressure of working under the constant scrutiny of the British public. It appears his own previous experience of both success and failure has driven him and his team to be resilient and deliver. He seems to have bought in a culture of fighting for your position, at the same time he appears to have built a strong team. Remember the press being allowed to photograph the players enjoying themselves?
The England camp in recent times has been reported to be a divided environment with big, strong personalities and dominant home club relationships causing a separated, sometimes hostile environment according to some. Gareth Southgate has broken down home club divisions and has created a unity in the camp which is underpinning their success. Furthermore, during the World Cup elation of England finally putting to bed their 22 year history of losing on penalties, we saw a compassionate Gareth Southgate, who having congratulated his own players, took time to console the opposing player whose miss had given England victory.
The consistent themes coming through from these examples are clear vision, strong communication, listening and compassion. How high ranking are these attributes when you are recruiting for leadership roles?
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