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What does good leadership look like in 2019?

Posted by Simon Parke, 02 January 2019, 11.12am

What will good leadership look like in 2019?

My primary wish for the country this year is the discovery and experience of good leadership – a privilege we don’t presently enjoy.

And should the chance of change be offered, a choice between Mrs May or Mr Corbyn is not a choice which excites.

Mrs May’s clunky psyche moves like a crab - awkward, determined, unresponsive to touch and nuance, cut off from relationship.

Her absence of relationship with others has brought us to where are.

The lone furrow of psychological separation has trumped explanation, conversation and alliance in the Brexit journey. Her pursuit of a Brexit deal hidden from others, kept safe behind her airless shell, has brought no one with her.

Without relationship, only terror can persuade, which is the path she presently pursues – ‘my way or nothing.’

Mr Corbyn should have had the easier ride as a leader – holding power to account is a great deal less challenging than wielding it.

But in the three major challenges that confronted him last year – the response to the Salisbury poisonings, the anti-Semitism row in the Labour party and Brexit –
‘Disingenuous’ was his middle name.

And this is no name for a leader.

He adopted shape-shifting, evasion and absence as his modus operandi; when in politics and business, integrity and trust is at the heart of all good leadership.

Both these party leaders have beauty within them.

But like graffiti across a masterpiece, secondary energies, created by their personalities, swamp their leadership.

In the case of Mrs May, resentment, fear and self-punishment are particularly at play behind the shell.

In the case of Mr Corbyn, vanity, rage and cynicism are more to the fore.

Leadership will always be a frail and human affair. We bring our inadequate selves to the task and leadership will find us out, exposing every crack.

And this is fine, for no one is the messiah, or need imagine themselves so. We bring our speckled selves to the role, we can’t be someone else; we do our best with who we are and lead in our own way, warts and all.

But beyond the stain and graffiti of our secondary energies, our personality, there are some primary energies which will always be evident in the good leader - energies like clarity, openness, courage, connection, curiosity, identity and depth.

And these are not beyond any of us, should we wish to nurture them.

My primary wish for the country this year is the discovery and experience of good leadership.

Any takers?

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