Leaders dramatically influence the culture of their communities. Can we assume that the leader of a country influences the culture of that nation?
Maintaining as much objectivity as I’m able and in light of the general election happening in the UK, I’m asking these 7 questions of the leaders of our 4 main parties. Deductions are based on leaders’ interviews and the semantics extracted from their language.
Please allow “in my personal, parochial and provincial point of view” to precede the following statements:
Teresa May is all about ‘I’ – rarely will she refer to her actions as being those of a team. Teresa May is focused on the destination; the sudden calling for a general election shows short term vision and her focus is often on the end goal – the destination over the journey to get there. Rather than being present with the current agenda, she appears to constantly need to get to a point from which ‘we can all move on’. Knowledge is power to Teresa May who plays her cards close to her chest. Even in the run up to the election she didn’t grace us with any early insight into her manifesto – “wait for it to be published” she said with a whiley eye. She’s quick to cut people down too. “No.” I’ve yet to hear her say that she doesn’t know – an indication that she’s not comfortable with the unknown. She continuously prioritises process over people in her use of language.
Caroline Lucas answers questions about her views with ‘we think…’ A huge advocate of social justice, she prioritizes people (and planet) over process and profit, taking a long term view of her position and the situation. She was relatively open about the content of the Green Party’s manifesto before it was published, showing a willingness to share information. Given her behaviour protesting against fracking, it’s fair to say that Caroline Lucas is not overly afraid of taking risks or embarking into the unknown. Does she value the journey or the destination? Given the likelihood of an MP from the Green Party becoming the next PM, Caroline Lucas is in this for the journey.
Jeremy Corby is perhaps the hardest to position. He talks openly of change and refers to ‘we’ and ‘I’ in equal measure however, a strong element of ‘‘what I want us to do” exists. Jeremy Corby is good at presenting people’s personal stories but often this to illustrate a process based political point. He’s quite good at examining a bigger long-term vision but appears closed to the influence of other people’s ideas. He values the destination over the journey and appears to equate knowledge to power, seldom sharing so-called ‘secrets’.
Tim Farron always uses ‘we’ and his words prioritise people over process or service. He talks of past, future and the present moment as if on an ongoing journey. His vision is presented in light of the long-term. He’s very good at finding points ‘we can all agree on’ and often has the grace to find something constructive to say about individual opponents. Tim Farron knows he doesn’t know it all and he openly appreciates that ‘times are changing’. He appears more comfortable and confident navigating the unknown than all of the other 3 candidates.
I ignored question 4. You can reach your own conclusions, here are mine:
Tereas is an authoritarian leader who would lead a defensive culture.
Caroline is a collaborative leader who would lead a constructive culture.
Jeremy is an authoritarian leader who would lead a defensive culture.
Tim is a collaborative leader who would lead a constructive culture.
NB: Collaborative, constructive cultures better foster innovation. The rest of the world is entering the ‘Innovation Generation’, which way will the UK go?
If you’d like more insight into defensive and constructive organisational cultures and how these are indicative of leadership styles, you’re welcome to a complimentary copy of my latest book: