As the party manifestos are published, and are ruthlessly dissected by the pundits, the Leadership principles I covered in a recent post seem even more relevant. I’ve pulled together the following “little list” based on the myriad interviews I’ve heard or watched in recent days, as well as the Leaders’ Debate.
As so much of the tone of the campaign so far has been one of frustrated attempts to get to the detail of the parties’ proposals, I thought I’d make this a “To Don’t” list – for the Party Leaders, and indeed, for any Leader:
1. Don’t under-estimate the intelligence of the people – when managing change, especially when difficult decisions are called for, tell the truth.
2. Don’t shy away from admitting your mistakes – people will trust you if you are sincere, and they will give you another chance if you demonstrate that you have learned from past experience.
3. Don’t pretend that complex problems can be solved with fine words alone – be prepared to demonstrate your attention to detail. Be realistic: under-promise, over-deliver.
4. Don’t be negative – people want to feel confident in your vision, strategy and competence. They won’t follow you just because you are the least worst option.
5. Don’t act as if you have a divine right to be in your position. Every day, look in the mirror, and ask: “Why should I be led by you?”
In conclusion, the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson – happily now recovering from recent illness – has pointed out that “Every manifesto is a mix of the three Rs – Retail Offer, Radicalism and Reassurance.” Make sure yours is a balanced combination of all three elements.
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