Before you run, this is NOT a post about Brexit although I am going to use the example of the political tsunami of the past 10 days to demonstrate that actually this IS a post about leadership.
When I woke up on 24 June I was saddened at the EU referendum result, and disappointed that Europe had not been able to overcome its differences, after all, the union was born out of a desire for peace.
But when David Cameron came out of No. 10 on that morning and announced that he was resigning as Prime Minister, I was speechless.
In one of the Facebook Groups where I network I expressed my thoughts and was quickly rebuffed with comments such as ‘what did you expect’ and ‘why would he want to deal with this mess’.
My immediate thought was that if David Cameron was elected to lead the United Kingdom by a majority vote, he should remain the captain of his ship and steer the UK to its next destination. In my opinion he had laid the foundations for this chaos, and it was up to him to sort it out.
If you read my blog on a regular basis you will know how important it is to do a job that you love. You have values that make up the unique person that you are, and if you’re in job where you find your values are being contradicted you will suffer.
It’s one of the reasons that burnout and depression are becoming common phrases in the workplace, because too many of us tell ourselves that it’s more important to be able to pay the bills. We pick up the tasks that others have let fall because we are committed to the results of the team or the vision of the business or organization.
But all the time you question yourself why you put up with it, or wonder why the others aren’t helping because you had assumed that you were working for the same cause.
And at some point you realise that your colleagues don’t think the same way that you do, that they have different standards, and that some of them simply don’t care about whether they’re doing their job properly or not.
I’ve always leaned towards the conservative values of helping others help themselves as opposed to social support on tap, although I remain convinced that politics nowadays has less to do with ‘party platforms’, and more about the personal values of the personalities involved.
Looking back at what David Cameron did, I now believe that he showed leadership at a level that is rare.
In his announcement on the morning of 24 June 2016, David Cameron told the people of Great Britain that he loved the ‘country’ to his core, and he acknowledged the result of the referendum.
Yet that result went against everything he believed in, moving him to resign. The majority decision of the people contradicted David Cameron’s values and he knew that he could not continue in his position.
Now whilst there were many shouts of ‘good riddance’ and ‘Schadenfreude’ (love that word but still don’t know how to translate it appropriately into English), place yourself once more into your work situation.
Which type of boss would you want? Someone who preaches the virtues of teamwork to get results, but then disregards your professional input at every turn, or someone who respects your advice to the extent that they let you lead the way because you’re going to do a better job?
David Cameron’s resignation was the catalyst for some remarkable developments in the UK and it’s fascinating to watch the unravelling of the political landscape.
Although I was amongst those who criticised the Prime Minister for throwing in the towel, and accused him of allowing the UK to plunge into instability, I have the greatest respect for someone who had the courage to be true to their values, because if you cannot be true to yourself, you will never be true to anyone, or anything, else.
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