When did “I Quit” become an acceptable leadership principle? What is happening to our leaders in the UK? If the current rate of resignations in politics, football and prime time car shows continues then there will be few left to lead anything in a few weeks’ time!
I believe we have to accept that we cannot ask a leader to lead if the direction required goes against their long held principles, values and beliefs so that may let Mr Cameron off the hook, although Mr Osbourne seems to be finding a way to square that particular circle, for now at least. However, the fact Mr Cameron clearly said before the referendum that he would stay on as PM regardless of the outcome and then promptly resigned when he did not get his own way, severely reduces the height of the moral low ground he is hoping to occupy I fear.
The other political leaders in the Brexit referendum need to stop and take a long hard look at themselves. Their conduct over the past week or so has at times been appalling and does nothing to build trust between the ordinary person and the political elite. When the country needs a visionary leader the most, one that can unite our seemingly fractured country and put the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain those that are seeking to convince us they are qualified for this role are to be found squabbling amongst themselves, looking after their own interests, or worse heading for the hills.
It’s just not good enough.
When Roy Hodgson bowed out he did so at the crest of failure, thinking no doubt that the ‘slings and arrows’ coming his way would in any case take him down. Chris Evans resigning from the BBC’s globally popular primetime car show Top Gear is yet another example of someone bowing out in the face of what appears to be poor results, in this case unacceptable viewing figures. When they were appointed they both claimed to be building something special yet they both quit with the job not even half finished.
These examples of course are being played out in the unrelenting, unforgiving glare of the world’s media. Thank goodness most of our business leaders do not have to stare into this blinding light otherwise I am sure most of them would never step up and do a leadership role in the first place.
All leaders are accountable to their followers and to do their role well they need to be in tune with their followers’ hopes and aspirations. A great leader is after all a purveyor of hope and quitters fail to meet this most basic leadership requirement.
Yet, despite how it feels in certain parts of the UK the sky has not fallen in just yet. I suggest we all take solace from the way Iceland and Wales have conducted themselves at the Euro’s. Their togetherness, teamwork and resulting success is a cause for genuine celebration.
As Chris Coleman the Wales manager said to all the youngsters that have put their mobile phones down long enough to kick a ball around the park:
Dare to Dream. Sometimes dreams can and do come true…..
Malcolm Follos is a Leadership Development specialist and key Change Maker.