Author: Christian

The failure of leadership

The failure of leadership

Analysis: When leaders refuse to leave the stage

This past week, I came across an old, well thought-out piece on the “failure of leadership” that I had written some years ago. It argued that not much has been done to encourage our leaders to leave the stage at the end of a speech. I was only slightly surprised to find that in 2009, when I made the argument, a mere 10% of our chiefs were still in the room when the government finished speaking.

It seems to me that we have a large number of leaders, whether at the local, the national or the international level, who are too good at staying in the room, at the table when the government finishes speaking, too good to listen to any criticism.

While these leaders may be able to stay in the room, they are unwilling to leave and they have the confidence to tell the truth, to admit their mistakes and to do what it takes to change – a different and better way – to go into the future.

In some countries – such as Britain – there are political forces with a great influence who are able to make sure they get the microphone at the end of the speeches on the big occasions, but they don’t give them the ability to change the things that need attention and they tend to put the blame on others instead of giving the blame to themselves.

It is important, from the point of view of creating an ethical leadership culture, to encourage people – both leaders and followers – to get out of the room. This can mean leaving the room before the other leaders leave, to encourage the next generation of leaders to follow their predecessors.

It can also mean leaving the room after everyone else has left, even to go through the motions and make polite conversation with the opposition members after the event is over. It can mean leaving the room just to sit down in a quiet place, even when the event seems far from over. The leader who stays in the room, I believe, will give more than he or she gets in return – they will have learned something that

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