While there are differences between political leadership and other contexts, there are lessons we can learn from the current election campaign.
Here are five.
Vision: Leaders are supposed to offer a vision, a view of the big picture as they see it. This means conveying some idea of how the whole will be better under that leader’s reign. What we are seeing in this election is a focus on bits of the whole, catering for special interests rather than being given some sense of how the country will be a better place.
Inspiring: Leaders win hearts by using inspiring language that is specific, creates strong images, avoids cliches, and is delivered with some passion. What we are getting is stodge.
Courage: Leaders deal with the complex macro issues that demand courage to deal with. Such issues trade in uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity. There is no ‘right’ answer. What we are getting is a focus on micro issues, such as old car rebates rather than climate change at its broadest.
Passion: Leaders who have an inspiring vision display some passion or at least enthusiasm for what they can see on the horizon, what they want to create. What we are getting is calm, cool, considered.
Focus: Leaders focus on what is important to the wellbeing of everyone, what will really make a difference. What we are getting is a focus on small, emotional issues that in the grand scheme of things won’t make a huge difference, like ‘stopping the boats’.