“When in a business setting always stay away from discussing religion and politics.” That’s the advice I got many years ago from an old leadership mentor of mine and it’s advice I pass onto my clients as well. It makes a lot of sense because these two subjects can often come packaged with emotion and the potential for divisiveness. However, how the National party faced into the election this year is ripe with so many lessons that we, as leaders, need to learn from it.
Firstly, let me start off by saying that Collins was up against it from the very start. She only had a couple of months before the election and, in my humble opinion, it would’ve taken a miracle for National to pull off a win.
However, how she went about it all probably caused more damage than good. Let’s have a look at where it all went wrong. Firstly, Collins came out of the gate with National’s (or possibly her) vision – we’re going to crush the existing government. That was the message. That was the vision to all New Zealander’s for the future. This was a poorly delivered communication because it focused on what the party wanted, not what New Zealanders wanted. I know she was under pressure by media to say what their plans were but she moved too quickly and missed a vital step. She didn’t have her team behind her.
This is what led to National’s downfall in the end and the second thing we need to pay attention to. There was no trust among her team; in fact, there was a lot of distrust being made public through a range of channels. MPs were openly militant and squabbling on social media and through news channels, damaging in-party information was being leaked and National MPs were resigning left right and centre. What a disaster! As leaders, our first and foremost focus should be on building our team and that starts with trust. Without trust everything else is built on a shaky foundation that will eventually come crashing down.
Building trust with another human being requires vulnerability. We have to be open to sharing a little about ourselves to encourage others to do the same – yes, it’s scary! It might not even work one hundred percent of the time but there is no alternative. Only when a team trusts one another can it move forward – in a shared direction! Not one solely defined by the leader. There has to be open dialogue where everyone’s voice is heard.
The above points are basic leadership skills but without them your team is never going to be a high performing team. I hope this gives you food for thought. Building a team takes effort and it always starts with building strong relationships… and trust.
If you’d like to know more about how to achieve more in life or business, or if you’d like to explore how coaching can help you become a better leader (of others or yourself!), or even if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.
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