I’ve never liked magicians. Sure the good ones are very skilful: with their sleight of hand and distraction techniques. This weekend I’ve been particularly irked with the political magic that’s been played: distracting the population from the general lack of leadership, forward planning and strategic focus over covid by focusing attention on a perilous journey made by desperate people in precarious dinghies across the world’s busiest sea channel.
Sure it’s a skilful sleight of hand but it plays into deep seated prejudice and negative assumptions about a group of people who, let’s face it, are only trying to get to the UK because we (and our allies) have been supplying bombs to those who’ve been terrorising their homeland. It's a form of leadership that is destructive and deceitful because it distorts the narrative that we should be focusing on.
I was struck by a Haiku poem I read this week by Lecco Morris
When it's all over
what will begin in its place?
Will it be better?
I had hoped that with the earth-shattering impact of covid on our systems, processes and leaders that we all would have taken the time to think, and to think deeply. To have stepped away from the train tracks that we’d been welded onto for so many years, the prejudices and stereotypes, the actions that are destroying our planet and challenged our thinking to take an imaginative leap into doing things differently. To perhaps move away from the magical leadership to true leadership.
And then there’s Brexit. Here we are hamstrung by government action – or inaction – as the economy staggers through the covid crisis only to be coming into view of another crisis of their own making.
Where is the imagination and grace to forge a different path? It seems not in our political leadership or in most of our media so it’s up to those enlightened leaders in business to seek out the change.
How can they do that? Do they have the skills, the EQ and, just as important, the stamina to step up and into the side effects of another economic virus coming our way?
Now is the time to strip away the magical leadership and replace it with grounded, pragmatic excellent leadership. We should identify and support that cadre of leaders who can see the diversity of the environment that surrounds them and plan timely and flexible responses - and help them too, to see the cognitive diversity in the people that surround them, for it’s this cognitive diversity that will strengthen our responses in this whirlpool of change.
Laura Murphy blogs about things that interest her. They might not interest you but read them anyway. It might even change your mind.