Friday, 8 October 2010

Will the shadow cabinet go ape?

In organisations, of whatever size, no matter what that organisation does, there is a ripple effect from the person in charge which decides the culture of that organisation.

If the boss dominates meetings, constantly interrupts, belittles and undermines, then the subordinates will act in the same way. If the boss inspires, doesn't dither, acts with confidence, shares the credit and shoulders the blame then this builds a stronger team as others will follow this lead. There is even anecdotal evidence of women executives copying how a female CEO dressed. 

The actions of those in leadership positions reverberate through organisations and so shape the culture, ethos and performance of that organisation. This is the conclusion of a recent study in leadership from McKinsey. The report even highlights how anthropologists studying chimpanzees, baboons and gorillas have found followers devote an enormous amount of time watching their leader. The McKinsey egg-heads conclude that it's the same in any hierarchical organisation.

A lot has been written about Labour's new shadow cabinet - particularly how it fails to match up to Ed Miliband's 'new generation' tag. There are some new faces, as well as others returning to the top echelon of Labour politics, but the vast majority served under Gordon Brown.

This is where we can all become budding anthropologists watching the Labour big-beasts, work-horses, runts and snakes develop under Ed Miliband compared to Gordon Brown. The former Prime Minister's leadership style has been much criticised with stories of  Brown bullying and undermining staff and even phone throwing. Is there little wonder that Brown's key ally, Ed Balls, has a reputation for being hated and a bit of a thug?

If this report is right, then those being named today in key shadow cabinet posts, even if they held similar offices under the previous Labour leader, will soon start to take on some of the characteristics of their new leader. This style of leadership will then ripple through the other ranks.

It will be very interesting to observe how Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Douglas Alexander and others will behave in the coming months, and whether they take on any of Ed Miliband's leadership traits.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment and I will be interested in what you have to say.