I am writing this on the day that the election was finally announced for the 6th May. Well, that was hardly a big surprise, was it? I have listened to the assorted leaders and I have read the pundits and I certainly have no desire to get all party political on you here. I am not apathetic. I would never dream of not voting – It isn’t that long since women were given the right to vote after all! I am appalled by the number of people who fail to vote but still expect to have their opinion listened to. Yet, this time around, a lot of people are confused about who they want to support.
One of my particular problems is that I really cannot face a month of adversarial, smear – campaign driven, slanging matches. It just doesn’t do it for me. It seems somewhat primitive. Who can shout loudest? Who can look like the biggest bully in the playground? Do I catch a whiff of testosterone in the air? Is it naïve of me to want to see certain qualities in political leadership? Our whole mission at WWS is to create balanced leaders but in our political system that approach isn’t seen as one that wins votes. I suppose there are some people who are dyed in the wool supporters of political parties for no better reason than that was how their parents voted or how their class has always voted. They may just need to hear their leaders bang on about the same old issues. Intelligent people in a modern democracy want more political input, not less. We also want to know what a leader really stands for. The problem may be partly one of style over substance. Is this election being fought on issues or appearances? François recently asked a senior civil servant for his opinion on two TV programmes: the now classic Yes Minister and the recent Thick of it. The answer – Yes Minister was all about policy while Thick of it is all about the best spin and how to wrong foot the other guy. Can we return to a focus on policy on the issues that matter? Can we have truly authentic leaders with aligned values and belief systems rather than an unconvincing façade? The last year or so has brought one scandal after another. I don’t think I am alone when I say that I want to see strong leadership that expects the highest standards, ethics and values, the best caring and responsible behaviour of all politicians, setting an example to all us citizens. We work to achieve that in business. How much more important is it for our country? So, what is it that we really, really want from our leaders whether they are in politics, banks, public services or the firms we work in? We don’t want to know who you are voting for but let us know what qualities you look for in a leader.