Leadership Bingo: How to assess leadership performance in the General Election debates

April 6, 2015

QueencerseiIn their attempts to appear authentic, political leaders ‘leak’ information about their leadership styles. Here are some signals which help you play a game of Leadership Bingo during the General Election debates

I examined the great ‘seven leaders’ debate of April 2nd, in search of leadership styles.

Using my notes, I began to work out a more comparative analysis of the leaders combining their performance on the night with more general patterns of leadership behaviour to be found in the literature and in popular culture (Game of Thrones candidate above).

A jumble of leadership styles

My first efforts resulted in a jumble of leadership styles which began to connect what I had observed with more general concepts:

Charismatic style [CS]: (induces belief in those around without need to use statistics or reference to other evidence of authority. Offers hope (vision) for future}
Democratic style [DS] (Distributed leadership: Let’s share leadership responsibilities)
Empathic style [ES]: (I share your pain)
Heroic Warrior style [HWS] : (Lone Ranger: This dude has something special in a tough fight)
Level 5 style [L5S] : Modest but with evidence of determination (‘fierce resolve’)
Nurturing style [NS]: ( I’ll look after you)
Servant leader style [SLS]: (I am an instrument to help you achieve your goals)

The leadership bingo card

So there you have it: the political wonk’s bingo card for use alone, electronically, in the classroom or in the pub (suited for UKIP gatherings).

Fill in the card for each speaker. Needless to say, the winner is the bingo player who can identify every speaker with a leadership style line.

In the case of a tie, the winner goes to the player who has identified the most additional styles on the card.DSCN0938
Make your own cards for other leaders you are interested in. Here is the card I used

Let me know (comments) if you like Leadership Bingo.

 

 


A Tale of Seven Leaders: The General Election Debate April 2nd 2015

April 2, 2015

uktv-leader-debate-running-order

The first and most comprehensive of the televised debates gave seven leaders a chance to influence the impact of their parties ahead of the General Election in May.

I planned to follow the two hours of hustings, [20.00-22.00 BST] noting my immediate reactions to the leaders’ performances.

My Front-end loading

Front-end loading or pre-project planning is a term found in project management to anticipate and be prepared for dealing with the inevitable unforeseen events later. My Front-end loading was to structure my observations around the seven candidates, using the locations on the podium.

Luck of the draw

The attempt towards fair treatment of all, resulted in a complex sequence of ‘who goes first’, as shown in the ITV chart above. The main thing to remember is the location of the speakers

For each candidate, I intend to note my expectations, and to comment on anything unexpected, particularly if it relates to leadership style. I also drew on media analyses for my template.

The Candidates [in left to right podium order]

Natalie Bennett (Green Party) will occupy the far left podium, with Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats), Nigel Farage (UKIP), Ed Miliband (Labour), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru), Nicola Sturgeon (Scottish National Party) and finally David Cameron (Conservatives)

Natalie Bennett
Leader of The Green Party

Expectations

Outsider from Australia. Recent v poor TV interview. Can only go in one direction, up. Greens are running behind in polls, well overtaken by UKIP. Will need to find some more assertiveness of style.

Nick Clegg

Leader of Lib Dems, deputy PM in coalition

Expectations

‘Winner’ of debate last time, dreadful change in fortunes since. Has never recovered politically from decline due to breaking promise on tuition fees entering coalition. Will plug the need for Lib Dems to preserve centre ground in next Parliament. Unpopular policy on Europe for electorate.

Nigel Farage

Leader of UKIP

Expectations

The most charismatic and populist of the speakers. Pub-chum style is a strength and possible weakness. Convincing narrative to followers about UKIP as genuine alternative to a failed system, esp on immigration, and Europe. Expected to have good audience impact.

His attacks on govt. economic policy not so salient for his supporters ashes immigration and Anti-EU views

Ed Miliband [EM]

Leader of the Labour Party

Expectations

Will try to reset electorate’s perception of him as weak and rather weird. Tends to do folksy-sincerity, unconvincing according to polls. Emphasis on more human-faced economic probity than Govt. policies and behaviours.

Leanne Wood

Leader of Plaid Cymru [‘Party of Wales’]

A surprise inclusion following negotiations over composition of panel. Main objective is to gain some more credibility for Plaid Cymru in Wales. Modest style may conceal firm resolve?

Nicola Sturgeon

Leader SNP, First Minister, Scotland

Presents as calm and confident. May impress electorate as a fresh and authoritative figure. SNP likely to be powerful force in next Parliament, expected to destroy Labour in Scotland in the Election. Needs only to secure gains of SNP in Scotland.

David Cameron [DC]

Prime Minister, The Conservative party

Expectations

Statesmen like. Message: competence or chaos. Don’t get hooked on immigration or on Europe in ways that might help Nigel Farage. Confirm electorate’s view of him as nice or less nasty than other prominent conservatives. Will deal easily with Posh Boy suggestions.

Leadership team challenge

Leadership students may find it instructive to consider what sort of team might be made of the seven candidates? [The coalition from hell?] Who might emerge as a leader and perhaps Prime Minister. How might subsequent bids for power work out?

Opening statements

Natalie Bennett

austerity not inevitable.  We start with hope.

Nigel Farage

all six support immigration .  Immigration is bad.

Nick Clegg

lib Dems have resilience to complete job started

Nicola Sturgeon

Message to all. Friendship working across UK.  Against austerity and nuclear subs

David Cameron

our plan is working Economy is fastest growing.  Stick with us.

Leanne Wood

Support Plaid Cymru

Ed Miliband

Support Labour, save the health service

Questions 1-4

The one minute format doesn’t quite work. Machine-gun like answers, impossible to evaluate.  Multiple and confusing challenging of one another’s statements.

no obvious winner as yet.  Leane Wood gains applause for objecting to Nigel Farage remark about immigrants and HIV.

This 45 min into debate

Second half of debate

Question on immigration.  Bit of hopping around.  Avoid scapegoating but tighten up. Some clear water.  The greens present themselves as universal  idealists .  Plaid Cymru as  socialist idealists.

Getting a bit boring. Do they have a comfort break? I need one. Back to hear round of applause for David Cameron for labour MPs who used zero hour contracts for employees,

Final  Statements

Nicola Sturgeon

SNP alternative includes abolishing nuclear weapons.

Nick Clegg

Vote for LIB Dems for stability and fairness.

Ed Miliband

Ill reward all people playing by fair rules

Leanne Wood

Austerity is a choice. Give vote for Plaid Cymru

Natalie Bennett

Vote for what you believe in, vote green

Nigel Farage

We believe in patriotism. Let’s do it

David Cameron

Let’s keep security.

Phew! Was it worth it. Yes, just about. And goodnight.

Initial reaction

Not a game changer. Don’t know what winning here means. Minor collateral damage.

On reflection

My view straight after the debate was that the selection of the seven candidates was the result a weak compromise to secure the presence of The Prime Minister.

On reflection, I still think there were different agendas which made the ‘who won’ debate even more futile than usual. However, the alleged million plus tweets suggests that the format engaged the web-based audience and maybe will influence chances of similar format becoming a favoured choice in the future.

But ‘they that were not there will think themselves accursed’ and work harder for a voice next time. These absent voices included the DUP of Northern Ireland, and George Galloway’s The Respect Party. Not clear about a format that might work with even more contributors.

The pointless of seeking a winner

I remain firm in believing that it is pointless reducing the performance to a league table of winningness. Maybe It would just about be possible to look for utter tanking. There wasn’t any person there in my view who failed obviously weakening electoral chances. After May 7th, careful and clever analysis may reveal what impact the debate may have made.


Martha Lane Fox is an inspirational leader and role model

March 31, 2015

Martha_Lane_FoxIt is easy to find examples of the dark side of charismatic leadership. Then someone comes along who restores confidence in the possibility of the bright side of positive charismatic influence

I have little doubt that Martha Lane Fox (Baroness Fox of Soho, and founder of the Last minute dot com company) started something important in the 2015 Dimbleby lecture last night [March 30th, 2015]. Her presentation was an elegant masterpiece of rhetoric for a digital age she has already helped shape.

The core of her argument to me is a simple message directed initially at a UK audience, but one that has resonance around the world. Information Technology has given us the potential for doing much more than we are for the common good. Yet it needs independent and firm monitoring to avoid abuse, not least through State-sponsored surveillance.

And without a PowerPoint in sight

Whereas others in public life have making this point every day (in lastminutepowerpointdotcom fashion), very few of us have the talent of MLF, who reminded us that PowerPoint is not obligatory to communicate a message effectively.

The self-fulfilling prophesy

Even if, like me, you missed her talk in real time, you will be able to recapture the moment easily. [In the UK you can see it on the BBC iplayer available for another 29 days ] There is further traction because Martha Lane Fox has a follow-up plan to mobilize public opinion behind her ideas. Partly, through the capacity of the web to capture and transmit messages to us all. Here we a self-fulfilling aspect of her message.

The follow-up: Doteveryone

The follow-up is the doteveryone Movement announced at the lecture, and created with the intention of influencing powerful leaders to contribute more to a new age of e-responsible actions. Doteveryone will go viral.

The lecture as a treasure trove of tweets

The lecture is worthy of close study by students of leadership. It might also have been written for mining its numerous sound-bites into memorable tweets. If you are among those tweeters transmitters of inspirational sayings, it could keep you going for several months.

To be continued


Murray wins a battle outside his comfort zone in Miami Open

March 29, 2015

Andy Murray had lost heavily to Santiago Giraldo in their last match. In the Miami Open he and his coaching team had to come up with a new strategy to deal with an aggressive risk-taking opponent. It succeeded, but only after taking Murray out of his comfort zone

Murray’s immediate post-match analysis did not quite match up with his court demeanor. It was essentially that he believed he had played a pretty good match in difficult windy conditions.

The final score of 6-3 6-4 seems to back this up. It confirmed expectations of the respective rankings, and Murray’s familiarity with the conditions in Miami, his training base. If so, why was he repeatedly grumbling during the match at his bench? Dissatisfaction was combined with a new tactic of being more aggressive on his opponent’s weak second serve. This seemed to be working well. But it also seems to lie outside Murray’s comfort zone.

When Giraldo came up with a powerful response to it early on, Murray grumbled more pointedly. It was as if he had reluctantly agreed to the new strategy, but wanted his coaching team (especially, I assume, Amalie Marismo) to know this was a dumb idea and he should never have gone along with it.

After the match, Marcus Buckland The Sky interviewer avoided raising the question of Murray’s serve which was found wanting. First serve percentage was low. This could be at least partly due to tricky windy conditions. Second serve was treated by  in an equally aggressive fashion as the way Murray was dealing out to his own serve.

Comfort zone

The Comfort zone is increasingly found in ideas about performance management in sport and beyond. Settling an athlete into a comfort zone is important, as a way of increasing the ease of getting into the bubble of unthinking high performance or flow. But getting out of a comfort zone may not just be a necessity for tactical reasons but opens up possibilities for personal development.

To be continued


Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015): Singapore’s State maker remembered

March 23, 2015

Lee Kuan Yew was one of the influential State makers of the 20th Century. A case could be made that he conceived and brought about a prosperous and peaceful future for Singapore.

I became interested in the culture of Singapore some years ago, after taking part in the celebrations of its national day. After three decades in power, Lee Kuan Yew had handed over control of the State he had helped create. In the process he was showing dynastic aspirations.

Dynastic aspirations

It was being rumoured at the time, correctly as it turned out, that Prime Mister Goh, who succeeded him, was a transition figure who was to be replaced by Lee’s son. Informally we were also given to believe that Lee would remain the power behind his son’s actions.

Tickets for a celebration

It had been hard to get tickets for the celebrations at the old National Stadium in Kalang Leisure Park, close the Changi airport close to where the new and impressive modern sports stadium was later built.

Our tickets had came from a Singaporean friend who had seen enough ceremonies to make them less valued for him. Well worth seeing it all for the first few times, he reassured us.

We reached the stadium by subway, another of Singapore’s marvels. Allegedly, it was maintained in those days in pristine condition through President Lee’s regime of corporal punishment handed out to any litter-making individual. Westerners tended to admire the results, if not the means of achieving them.

Pre-conceptions

I had preconceived beliefs that we were going to observe a demonstration of State orchestrated loyalty. What happened was enough to unsettle such assumptions. To be sure there was the orchestration. Everyone was issued with a goodie bag, complete with a national flag to wave, an a small torch with coloured tissue paper over the business end,

There were the obligatory displays of military music, and marching discipline. Jet fighters roared low over the stadium, trailing slipstreams in the national colours. We tried to join in the passionate singing of the national anthem. Later, as night fell, the torches helped produce an equally impressive light-show in the national colours.

Unexpected experiences

What was unexpected was a warmth and mood of enjoyment throughout the lengthy event which seemed spontaneous and genuine. This was not evidence of a State operating under dictatorial edict.

At the time, the charismatic President had already become a mythic figure, a State-maker in the mold of Nelson Mandela. Much later, Lee attributed the role of ‘China’s Mandela’ to Xi Jinping, a judgement not shared by Time magazine.

Today, the appreciation of Lee’s period as all-powerful State maker is more balanced internally. His contribution towards the creation of the modern hi-tech, highly educated little country is recognized. But opposing views can be expressed publicly.


The Northern Powerhouse: A Stroll down Oxford Road

March 20, 2015

Oxford Road SICK festivalYesterday, I took the opportunity to breathe in the culture of George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse, by taking a stroll down Manchester’s Oxford Road

A few hours earlier, driving in to the city centre, I had listened to George being quizzed on his party political broadcast, sorry, I meant his budget speech, the previous day [Wednesday March 17th, 2015].

There has been quite enough coverage of that elsewhere.

My interest had then been further aroused by a caller to BBC’s Radio Five Live who said he was self-employed, and that he believed the government when they said they were creating a Northern Powerhouse. You can feel it in the air everywhere in Manchester, he added.

Really? I thought it was a good time to check on the theory of a spring-time culture which you can ‘feel in the air’ as proposed by Sumantra Ghoshal (1948-2004)

Oxford Road

My route took me through the University campus to Oxford Road just west of the University Hospital. I was heading for the newwly re-opened Whitworth Art Gallery. [Image by Alan Williams]

Whitworth Art Gallery

Lunch-time pedestrians were enjoying one of the city’s four seasons which can all arrive on the same day. Yesterday it was Spring. It was also the time of an artistic festival that had gone in for an eye-catching title SICK. This announced itself with the rather phallic structure shown above.

It also happened to be student rag week. Oxford Road was lined with stalls were erected for money-raising and for all the other motives of the student societies and activists. My image was a glimpse of the Students’ HQ

That Powerhouse Culture

If power translates into culture I could detect signs of a new vibrancy. I had to tread carefully to avoid the installation artworks, [and that was before I reached the Art Gallery]. Once there, the super-modernist surround of the sensational revamp seemed to merge nicely with the Victorian buildings off Oxford Road. My photograph was taken, facing left from the Whitworth’s entrance steps.

View from steps of The Whitworth

So, is the re-birth of The Whitworth part of powerhouse culture emerging in the North West of England, with thriving Manchester at its heart? Maybe. If so, it was summed up in a snatch of conversation overheard as two students hurried past. The accent of one was was more Brixton than Bolton:

” I’s a’ a me’aphor, inni?’ I heard her say.

Today, the eclipse

Yesterday Oxford Road, today the eclipse. Which, I suppose is also important culturally as another metaphor.


Martin Sorrell: Hero of unbridled capitalism

March 18, 2015

Sir Martin Sorrell is a global superstar of entrepreneurship and hero of unbridled capitalism. But is he likely to become an election asset in the UK?

His business success is grounded in his deals that resulted in an acquisition of a wide range of the largest international advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, and J Walter Thompson. His track record as entrepreneur and capitalist is noteworthy.

Although his business empire is built on creativity, his own skill is as a high-level financial innovator who found ways of releasing creativity of others in highly profitable ways.

As a Harvard MBA, and a governor of London Business School, his leadership makes a nice business school case.

This week [March 15th 2015] he made headlines with an annual bonus taking his earnings to £40 million.

The Independent reported:

Sir Martin Sorrell’s pay package is set to top £40m for last year after WPP, the advertising giant he founded, said that he was given £36m-worth of shares last week.

The shares were granted under a controversial long-term bonus plan called the Leadership Equity Acquisition Plan, or Leap, and which shareholders voted to abolish in 2012. The latest grant covers the five years from 2010 to 2015, when Sir Martin and 16 other executives received the maximum of five times their original investment in the scheme.

Read the rest of this entry »


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