Leaders Fighting

When Leaders Fight

If you know me at all you will know I am not the least interested in politics. However, from an ‘observing leadership’ point of view the last few weeks has been fascinating in terms of watching the Labour Leadership battle unfold.

The candidates are all different.

Andy Burnham is middle ground, stood and lost against Milliband and states he wants Labour to meet the “aspirations of everyone”.

Yvette Cooper is also more middle ground, married to Ed Balls and has held ministerial positions. She promises a stronger economy and a “fairer, less divided society”

Jeremy Corbyn didn’t plan to stand but after the ‘top 3’ far left candidates dropped he threw his name in the hat. He is a very experienced MP. He is thrice married with 3 kids and backed by the unions. He will “protect public services and increase taxes on the wealthy”

Liz Kendall is ‘the outsider’. She joined Parliament in 2010 and was elected to the shadow front bench straight away. She promises to “regain the public’s trust in Labour on the economy, promising sound public finances and protection of the poor and vulnerable.” Her pitch stresses the need to make the party electable.

What is interesting in this is not the differences in the values and ‘interpretation’ of Labour values of each candidates, but their actual leadership qualities.

Corbyn is certainly seen as the most contentious and the most extreme candidate – the other players fear he will drive the party into a permanent shadow position. But maybe not. Because actually when it comes to leadership people like to know where they stand and they prefer not to have vanilla leaders who do not inspire. Love or hate her politics there is no mistaking Margaret Thatcher for anything but a Leader. Or Churchill.

Now he may or may not win but one of the other leadership qualities which Corbyn exhibits almost to the exclusion of the others – is the refusal to back bite or ridicule the other candidates. He won’t play dirty politics. That is a quality that is essential in a powerful leader. When you point the finger at others it creates mistrust of your own integrity. Be careful about pointing the finger when you are climbing the career ladder.

Lack of respect of your peers sets a tone of non co-operation, lack of trust and encouragement of further ‘back biting’. Not a nice atmosphere to work in.

The moral of the story taught by Jeremy Corbyn is – it might not your skills or experience or even your core beliefs and values that get you the promotion – it may just be how you demonstrate those undeniable and essential leadership qualities.

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