Yesterday I mentioned here about where I feel everything started to implode for Mrs May. Today I want to consider some of the lessons for leadership from what has happened to Mrs May and the Conservative Party since 30th April.
Pride. Notwithstanding what was said at the time there seems to have been a prideful spirit at large among the Conservatives, particularly at the beginning of the election campaign. Mixed in with disdain for Mr Corbyn and the Labour party this was all a very unhealthy mix. Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall is what Solomon says in Proverbs 18:16.
Consultation. The manifesto which was something of a damp squib (and even embarrassment) was put together with limited consultation. The candidates and volunteers who have to support that manifesto were left somewhat deflated by this lack of engagement.
Communication. People who should have known about things relevant to their responsibility in the party appear to have not been communicated with properly. See here for details.
Personality Cult. The election campaign was conceived as being focussed upon Mrs May. It was believed that people would respond to her as a principled and strong leader. Her personality was key and not policies. Other strong personalities, such as Boris Johnson, were marginalised. As people became less impressed with her personality so the popularity of the Conservative party faded.
Sloganeering. There seems to have been the perception that the “strong and stable” would carry everything before it. People would be swayed by the allure of having this in uncertain times. But people need more than a slogan; they need policies.
Alienation of Core Support. The “dementia tax” proposal was badly conceived and presented. One reason it was so harmful was that would hit older people the most. And such people are traditionally the Conservative party’s core supporters.
Facing Up. Not appearing at the television debates with the other leadethe “strong nad stable” slogan would rs was surely a monumental miscalculation by Mrs May. People saw it as an unwillingness to front-up and be challenged by others. If she had just turned up and grunted a few things it would probably have done her more good.
Detachment. With everything seemingly being stage managed so that there were no gaffes she appeared detached. In contrast it is interesting to consider how Mr Major in 1992 got out among the people and stood on his box. People embraced such as being an indication that he was part of them. Mr Corbyn, in contrast to Mrs May, got out among the people.
Empathy. The failure of Mrs May to meet the residents of Grenfell Tower who had survived the horrendous fire of June 14th was a gross miscalculation again. People want their leaders to have some empathy with them.
So, some real issues to think about for all leaders whether they be leaders of families, businesses, countries or churches (or whatever institution). Makes me think about my responsibility as a father and an elder.
(I intend to dwell upon these issues over coming days, and particularly how they bear upon church leadership)