Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Thoughts on Leadership - politics, football and procurement

The UK appears to be in meltdown. The Prime Minister has resigned primarily as a result of not being able to bring the UK, as a whole, with him on the Referendum. Now the Conservative Party are engaged in their own nomination process for a leader, to not only replace Cameron, but also to lead negotiations which will bring about an exit (perhaps) from the EU and at the same time unify a very divided country.

Meanwhile in the Brexit fallout, the Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is at odds with his fellow MPs - his Shadow Cabinet have resigned en masse and he faces a vote of no-confidence today which is likely to force a Labour leadership election. Corbyn has stated his intention to be a contender in that election, and, it may well be that the Labour party electorate will return him in spite of the Parliamentary Party.

So between the Conservative and Labour party disarray we can expect a leadership vacuum for the foreseeable future.  

At times like these one may have hoped for some sort of solace in the European Football Championships.  Anyone watching English fans leave the stadium last night, the forlorn look of the players at the end of the match and listening to the dissection of the game by the commentators would be forgiven for thinking how can it get worse.  The team manager Roy Hodgson promptly resigned. I wouldn't know if Roy Hodgson had been a good leader or not - it seems hard to question his credentials in reaching the pinnacle of his profession.

The last week clearly has lessons to be learnt on leadership. But then again I had previously discussed some lessons on procurement leadership resulting from the Harmeston (ex-Coop CPO) case.

One thought in my mind is that leaders do not always have to win to be viewed as successful. Take, for example, the experience of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland football teams in the Euros, both of whom exited the Euros at the same stage as England. Yet, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland fans are in triumphant mood, proud of their achievements. There's is a celebration of leadership. Those leaders instilled a belief of what 'could be' achieved as a opposed to 'would be' - they didn't over promise, exaggerate or understate the scale of the task ahead. Yet they brought people with them - it strikes me that today's leaders, whether in politics, football, or procurement success can only be measured by their ability to win the confidence of those being led and trust that they can deliver the vision.

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