I have just started a series of 9 leadership training sessions for 37 employees who work in the ‘care industry.’ These are front line folks aspiring to be leaders and it has rekindled my passion for studying leadership.
I did my MA Management (Healthcare) at the University of Plymouth for 3 years from 1996-98 and my dissertation is called ‘Leadership in Practice’ which was the final 20,000 word piece of my qualification.
For those who enjoy reading I’m happy to share my dissertation. Just send me an email at email@example.com
In revisiting my dissertation I came across discussions I had at the time with ‘followers’ of leaders and how most of all wanted they want their leader to be authentic.
This brings me to recent TV appearances of our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
I have been very fortunate to meet Mr Brown a few times in the last year or so in both small group settings and large gatherings. I liked what I saw. On each occasion one thing that comes across is his concern for people and his interest in them. I admit he does not come across as a particularly extrovert or charismatic person but that didn’t matter to me because he seemed authentic.
The image folks have so obviously been trying to ‘change’ Gordon’s image because I have noticed a few things:
*Gordon is ‘smiling’ much more - and the smile just does not look genuine – actually Gordon, let's be brutal - it looks less genuine than Paul Daniels wig. So contrived!
*Last week there was a TV news item showing Gordon talking ‘live’ to an American TV audience on some charity show in the States about a large donation the UK is making. Gordon looked like he was advertising toothpaste such was his wide permanent smile - it was so ‘cheesy’ it was embarrassing quite frankly as a British citizen. So contrived!
*Yesterday when he met the 3 US Presidential candidates he had exactly the same time with each of the 3 and the walk he did along that corridor was identical even down to the hand gestures and the eye contact with each of the 3. So contrived!
This is not leadership – this is ACTING – and Gordon, sorry to say, you are not a good actor. Please leave that to the folks from Equity. Sometimes it is better to be told the truth by people who like us – even if the truth hurts.
Dare I suggest Gordon is trying hard – and failing miserably – to become as charismatic as Tony Blair? We just don’t ‘become’ charismatic – we either are or we are not – and it doesn’t matter if we are not - as long as we are authentic
It reminds me of the days back in the 1980's when Mrs Thatcher was 'worked on' by the image people to try and make her come across as a ‘caring’ person ….. That was just as impossible and silly as it is to make Gordon Brown appear 'warm' and 'cuddly.'
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD GIVE US CREDIT FOR SOME INTELLIGENCE - WE HAVE NOT JUST FALLEN OFF THE CHRISTMAS TREE – WE CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH THIS.
The most annoying thing about politicians as far as I’m concerned is that too many of them lose their authenticity and therefore credibility when they allow the image folks to take over. I’m sorry to say it appears Gordon Brown is now more concerned about his image than his authenticity.
Sorry Gordon – this does not fit with you I’m afraid and I am sad about that ‘cos actually, I like you!
I MAKE THIS PLEA TO GORDON - TAKE A LEAF OUT OF TONY BENN’S BOOK PLEASE ….. AND JUST BE YOU.
Maybe I have misread the signs and Gordon really has had an epiphany!!
I fear not …..