Posted tagged ‘cabinet minister communities secretary’

‘Lamentable’ communication failures


“…YouTube is no substitute for knocking on doors…”

Hazel Blears UK Communities Secertary

The Government’s communities secretary Hazel Blears has found herself in the headlines for describing the government’s communication efforts as lamentable.

Of course, Gordon Brown has been constantly lambasted whilst in office, often unfairly, and at times about his communication abilities.

I have had the pleasure of meeting both politicians. Gordon Brown was guest of honour at a dinner at a local further education college. This was prior to him being in government. He is a wonderful orator, demonstrated a very warm and funny character and the thing I always remember is how he engaged with the young people (catering students) and I hold him in the highest respect for that. Hazel chaired a meeting I arranged to discuss anti-social behaviour and again she was wonderfully engaging, came forward with incredible ideas and was very impressive.

So why is such a failure of leadership occurring?

Well my view is that the failures reflect two styles of leadership and that often under valued skills are in play, that of humility and the ability to put in place the right team. Often the most effective leaders are not the bold, egotistical confident characters that they portray. The best are those that are uncertain, need reassurance and will look for help.

I once worked with a leader who had psychological profiles undertaken on each of his directors and then those that differed from his were replaced. I know because I was one of those shown the door. Of course this then leads to a downfall as surrounding yourself with like types means that you get what you want to hear and you don’t get to hear what you need to as information is filtered. He lost his job within a short time.

Tony Blair personified the opposite and surrounded himself with very different types of characters and constantly looked for their opinion, reassurance. Alistair Campbell’s diaries highlight this type of leadership. The problem with Gordon is he sways between the two being a natural command and controlling type but also knowing he needs to flex this behaviour.

Hazel Blears is right but what will be interesting is how Gordon responds?

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