The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is in the news for the wrong reasons… again. The latest debacle are the gatherings at 10 Downing Street during lockdown in the UK. The gatherings involved a number of Mr Johnson’s staff in which they consumed alcohol and caroused. Mr Johnson himself participated in at least one of the gatherings. It has been reported gatherings occurred whilst the country was in mourning due to the death of Prince Philip. The Queen sat alone at her husband’s funeral whilst Mr Johnson and his staff were breaking the rules. Rules he had set.
Not surprisingly, there are calls for Mr Johnson to resign. On Monday, I heard the Conservative Party Co-chair, Oliver Dowden, state Mr Johnson did not need to resign and therefore change Prime Minister. It was the culture which needed to change. The Minister went on to say Mr Johnson would of course be responsible for changing the culture.
The reality is Mr Johnson is responsible for the culture as it currently stands. The culture which meant those staffers believed it was okay for them to break the rules and drink and dance to the wee hours.
Culture is created by aspects which are not always easy to understand. Culture is influenced by a number of aspects which are easily observed and measured. Leadership is one of those together with standards of accountability and behaviour. Whenever a group of people come together in any setting, including families, the culture is impacted by leadership and team performance. Everyone influences and impacts culture. Yet leadership has the greatest impact.
Without doubt Mr Johnson should take responsibility for the current culture in Downing Street and his party, as should any of us who are in leadership positions. We are leading the culture. We are defining what is acceptable and how we do things around here. This is a huge part of leadership.
What is the state of your culture? What have you created, impacted, and continue to influence? Is it where you want it to be?