Leadership Material

Last week in my Quick View I spoke about the importance of ensuring we get individuals ready for their first leadership role and any leadership role they have thereafter.

The resignation of the British PM after only 45 days in office has to raise concerns.  Liz Truss now has the mantle of the shortest serving British Prime Minister in history.  I don’t think that is something I would want to be known for especially as it wasn’t due to an illness, accident, or death.  Although she is connected to a couple of important footnotes in the history of the Royals.

Was Liz Truss ready to be Prime Minister?  Was she a scapegoat or a quick fix for a party in turmoil?  Were there other elements at play?  If anything, it is also disappointing.  I posted a Quick View on 8 September in which I mentioned that I hoped the Conservative Party would treat the new Prime Minister better than they had treated their last female Prime Minister, Theresa May.  And here we are…

Politics is an interesting beast.  It’s a game of numbers.  Truss got the numbers but for what reason?  Did the Party really want her to succeed or did they just not want others in that position?

It can happen in business as well.  Individuals are promoted to leadership roles.  Sometimes we wonder why.  They may be technically good but have no skills in leading and managing people.  Even though they may have succeeded in their previous position, the cracks start to show.

One of the cracks is not being able to engage their Team to achieve outcomes.  Sometimes, their Team will actively work against them.  I was told a story a couple of years ago about an individual in the army who wanted to progress to the next rank.  All of his subordinates were aware of this and they did everything they could to make it hard for this individual to achieve the next step up due to how he treated them.  It can happen in the private sector too.

Some of the analysis on Truss’ demise has described her as inexperienced, overconfident, and unrepentant.  At some stage, these attributes will bite.  Although, let’s be clear, running a country is no small job.

Leaders must have relevant experience, but they don’t need to be the expert on everything.  They must surround themselves with the experts in the required areas.  Importantly, they also need to listen and utilise time for the benefit of those who are affected by their decisions.  Did Liz Truss listen?  Did she make decisions too fast?  Was this outcome always going to happen?

Was it just a matter of time?

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