Every day in the last fortnight I have had a wobbly moment where I have cried a little bit over the state of the world. Things I can’t control but are becoming increasingly bleak and anxiety-provoking. I swing wildly between feeling helpless and feeling angry but neither do much to change the deep-seated discomfort of being on an environmental and political rollercoaster that’s going too fast.
At times such as these (although I’m not sure I been in such times before) I look to those who lead the country and the world to behave in a way that is positive, visionary and, above all, constructive. And I am quite disappointed at this moment in time.
Amongst other important qualities, there are two key things which leaders that have positive impact possess:
- Firstly, they base their decision-making on a big picture and long-term view (they have strategic vision)
- Secondly, they act with integrity and cut through the background noise to ‘do the right thing’ for people, for business and for society (they have courage)
Which leaders can we look to in the present moment in the UK and across the world who possess these characteristics? Jacinda Ardern (pictured below) in New Zealand is someone who immediately springs to mind. Her refusal to get drawn into the ‘small minded thinking’ of the perpetrator of the attack in Christchurch and her ability to see beyond the hurt to start the healing process demonstrate both the strengths that I’ve mentioned above.
In my work I am paid to spot these strengths (and more) in leaders across many different contexts and it pains me to say that when scanning the news now I find little evidence that the UK has many people in high political places with courage or strategic vision. Most politicians seem to be taking a short-term, self-preservative and uncourageous approach to our country’s cross-roads moment.
This may seem an unfair and sweeping statement and it probably is – unfortunately my leadership strengths radar is not blinking furiously as I watch BBC Parliament every day and I seriously wish it would start.