Reflections on the election 2019
Professor Bernd Vogel, Director of Henley Centre for Leadership and Professor of Leadership
"By profession I am a leadership scholar who supports students and organisations to find and develop leadership capabilities, and change societies. I must admit it is the biggest fun for me to discuss elections in the classroom. Those debates really surface what the participants’ views on so-called great leadership are. Quite extraordinary.
As always, the success of an election will be attributed to a strong leader, or what seems to be the attributes of a strong leader. Interestingly, more or less the same attributes will be mentioned to explain the failures of the election. What is an advantage on one side will be told as a disadvantage on the other: decisive equals stubborn; one voice equals suppressing other views; focused equals narrow-minded. You will find your own examples. And here lies the crux. We need to step away from a simple idea of a strong man as the solution or the problem in view of substantially complex societal questions and evidence. My hope is that this election, or basically the last three elections, in hindsight will help to get us there a bit more.
Still, come and join in an experiment. If we implant the same behaviours, rituals and what are called successes, that we have witnessed across the parties in last three months, into organisations in the first, second or third sector, what would happen? Would a school survive more than a few years, would an entrepreneur find customers and investors, would an insurance company cope with the change of digital to their business environment, would a business school attract students to learn? This is yours to answer.
Here is a task for you: What of the leadership behaviour you found awkward during the election have you shown yourself? Be honest!"