The Unreliable Guide To… Leadership
As America, the UK and Australia struggle under an Axis of Incompetence, The Unreliable Guide has been wondering what makes a good leader. Leadership is defined as ‘the action or ability to lead a group of people or an organisation’, which is pretty vague, but do Trump, Johnson and aloha-gate Morrison have what it takes? The Unreliable Guide has some tips and tricks to help you work out who should be the leader of your pack…
What makes a good leader?
Psychology Today suggests, “It is the responsibility of leaders to develop a vision for the people and institutions they guide. They must establish what matters and explain why, so they can set direction, and inspire others.” In other words, if you want to lead us, we must believe that you are not a total f*ckwit and you must have the social skills to communicate your lack of f*ckwittery. Integrity is not a word you hear much associated with politicians these days, or perhaps ever, but emotional intelligence is essential – if you want to lead people you must understand their needs. Machiavelli recognised this in the sixteenth century, “He who wishes to be obeyed must know how to command.” I’d argue that Trump, Johnson or Morrison couldn’t command their way out of a wet paper bag, so how has it come to pass that we’ve given these people the power to control our destiny?
Good leaders in history
Perhaps the current state of leadership is due to a lack of viable alternatives. Like Bill Shorten and Hillary Clinton, the UK’s Jeremy Corbyn was so disliked many long-term left-wing voters changed tack and voted in wild-card Boris Johnson. To misquote a famous song, “Where have all the leaders gone? Long time passing”. Let’s look at some good leaders from history to remind ourselves what they look like. India’s Mahatma Gandhi practised what he preached – the non-violent rejection of colonial rule – and he inspired a nation. Likewise, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and the US’s Martin Luther King had the vision to see beyond oppression and inspired hope in the hearts of millions of oppressed people. Even controversial leaders, like Churchill, Roosevelt or Napoleon, were successful because they gave one hundred per cent of their attention to the issue at hand. A good leader steps up in times of crisis and has the presence of mind to think and act creatively. They plan ahead but don’t let pride stop them from adapting those plans to circumstance. Some are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them, but all good leaders have charisma, guts and focus. Scomo could learn from that – #wherethebloodyhellareya?
What makes a leader bad?
Dictators like Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Hitler and Stalin used their power and influence to forward their own agendas, idolising power for the sake of power. Bad leaders follow ego, vanity and pride. They lie, get caught and refuse to be accountable. And they ignore the needs of their people. Morrison’s worst trait is his lack of empathy. Are you poor, a refugee? F*ck you, I’m cutting welfare and medevac. Is your house on fire? F*ck you, I’ve cut the RFS to the bone and only political necessity forced me to compensate the volunteer firemen. Go hang, I’m in Hawaii drinking beers with the boys. Here comes Armageddon, hallelujah.
Finally, The Unreliable Guide suggests we get the leaders we deserve. Until the size of our tax bill is less important to us than the quality of the air we breathe we will continue to have leaders who think only of the bottom line. When they tell us what we want to hear, we’ll believe them. To quote devious Machiavelli once again, “Mankind…are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.” Amen.