Positive Politicking – Lessons in Leadership
Unless you have been living under a stone for the past few weeks you will of course be aware that a General Election is pending and on May 7th 2015 there may a new government in place and the UK may have a new leader or leaders depending on which way the vote goes.
There is a statement which can be referred to quite frequently when talking about party political leaders or just leaders in general which is ‘whilst perception might not be reality it is what people use to make decisions about you’ never more is this statement more true when we come to put our cross on the ballot paper in less than 3 weeks’ time.
So, what can we learn about positive politicking and leadership based on the last month of political campaigning from the party leaders? Here are just a few of observations;
· When you make a bold statement state the Why first, then the how and finally the what. This is what Simon Sinek in his book ‘Starting with the Why’ refers to as the Golden Circle. This is known as communicating from the inside out and by starting with the why we are talking to the part of the brain that controls decision making (limbic brain)
· Present your authentic self – The more authentic you are, the more likely people will listen to what you have to say. Any message that is given with passion and personal belief has a greater chance of engaging the listener and perhaps getting them to think differently
· Charisma will only get you so far. Know the detail and think about the type of difficult questions you might be asked. Avoidance may make people question your leadership credibility
· There is a saying that ‘elections aren’t won; it’s for governments to lose’ in his book 8 steps to implementing successful change John Kotter states that the first step in any change is to create a sense of urgency, followed by building guiding teams, get the vision right, communicate for buy-in, enable action, short term wins, don’t let up and the final step - make it stick. The first 4 are pre-election actions and the remaining follow once you have been voted in perhaps?
Whether you are running for election or a leader in an organisation it’s always worth thinking and reflecting on what I call ‘the shadow of the leader’ and the shadow you cast? After all it’s this perception that people will use to make decisions about you.