This striking phrase came today from Ross Hawkins, a BBC correspondent. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23892783
The reference was to the results of the Commons vote on military action in Syria and to the effect that result will have – not on the people of Syria or on British troops – but on the career prospects of David Cameron. It seems that consulting our elected representatives and paying heed to their opinions is being seen as weakness.
It made me think hard about our attitudes to leadership in this country. Despite years of management consultants and all manner of other experts telling us that the path to corporate growth is staff empowerment; that the key to personal happiness and fulfilment is the exercise of responsibility; that the challenges facing modern society arise from a lack of self-control and real awareness of the consequences of our actions: despite all that, there is still a prevalent attitude towards leaders that states that decisive action at all costs is the key to success.
Why should it be a weakness to express your opinion but accept that you are wrong? (Don’t get me wrong – I don’t support Mr Cameron and others’ beliefs in the appropriate action to be taken today in Syria, but I do support absolutely his decision to abide by the will of Parliament.)
How can it be construed as weak to acccept advice from so august a figure as Ban Ki-moon?
In what way is it a sign of failure to listen to your peers?
Despite the horror of what’s happening in Syria, despite the need of all civilised people to find a way to stop such horrors recurring – a need which is not currently capable of translation into appropriate action – I’d like to wave a flag in support of democracy and the will of the people and another in support of those experts who tell us that negotiation, participation and inter-action are the ways forward if we are to achieve lasting results whether in politics or in business.