These are extraordinary times. In politics we are witnessing remarkable acts of negative leadership, from Westminster to Washington founded on blustering rhetoric vilifying others but without any idea of where to go to build a better more meaningful future for our children.
In business we are seeing corporate business deciding unilaterally deciding who has a voice and who doesn’t, and in an interview this morning I heard a corporate spokesman saying proudly they comply with the modern slavery provisions, as though that on its own is something to be proud of. Is that really the best we can do?
In the public sector decisions are being taken that affect the lives (literally) and careers of critical workers by people who have no experience of what it is like to be on the front line.
When challenged, we enter the world of the lawyers. In a very good interview this morning I heard a well argued and cogent rationale as to why Donald Trump could not, legally, be subject to either impeachment or the 25th Amendment because he had the right to do what he did whilst at the same time emphasising the moral, political and economic poverty of what has been done. We have witnessed much the same here in UK on Brexit, though thanfully without the guns. Never mind what was done, it was technically legal.
When leadership has to use legality to defend its actions, it has lost the plot. Leadership is a responsibility and often a burden as well as a rare privilege. In a democracy its credibility is founded on the intent of the leadership to serve those they govern, whether it’s a country or a company. When it gets reduced to a platform for ego and self interest, the legtimacy dissolves.
Fortunately, we are no longer dependent on our leaders. We may have to work around the challenges they bring us, but we can set our own examples in our own businesses and communities to not just mitigate the damage, but open up new options for every body. Brexit does not change who I want to work with, why I want to work with them, or the values I share with them.
It’s now down to each of us as to who we follow. We need to stop waiting, and start leading positively in whatever small way we can in pursuit of the futures we want. This is not some form of fantasy football for the few.