Why I am still interested in charismatic leadership

October 16, 2015

NietzseThe pendulum of fashion is swinging against the charismatic leader.  But it is too early to dismiss the style and claim that we are now in a post-charismatic era

It would take another Nietzsche to stand wild-eyed in the market place and declare The Charismatic Leader is Dead.  I may be wild-eyed from time to time, but I’m no Nietzsche.

What seems to be happening is a growing appreciation of the downside of the charismatic style in business, politics, sport and other fields of human endeavor. We continue to be fascinated by Special Ones, and not disinterested at their falling from grace.

In the last few days, further stories are have been reported about the charismatics Jose Mourinho and Camila Batmanghelidjh.

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Denis Healey: ‘The best leader Labour never had?’

October 14, 2015

A Reflective Obituary

Denis Healey (30 November 1917 – 3 October 2015) has been widely described as ‘The best leader Labour never had.’ What might lie behind such claims?

This week [October 2015] the deaths were announced of two influential political figures, Denis Healey and Geoffrey Howe. Although from opposing political parties they will be linked in the history of the late 20th century. I will take a brief look at the attempts made by Denis Healey to become leader of his party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and claims that he was ‘The best leader Labour never had’.

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Has Mourinho lost the charisma battle to Jürgen Klopp?

October 11, 2015
 Jurgen Klopp
Klopp arrives as Liverpool FC’s new manager. At his first press conference he shows that his reputation as a charismatic is fully justified.  He even offers a gentle but provocative joke against Jose Mourinho, the  Premier League’s charismatic in residence

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Charismatic leader of the Month: Alexis Tsipras

September 30, 2015

Alexis TsiprasAlexis Tsipras survives as the new protector of Greece’s austerity programs. He becomes Leaders We Deserve charismatic leader of the month

On September 20 2015, Alexis Tsipras becomes the leader elected by his country to implement the austerity programmes he was elected in January to oppose.

His story illustrates the success of a charismatic leader in retaining trust regardless of sudden shifts of policy he may make.

Background

The Greek election of 2004 had seen the success of Kostas Karamanlis of the New Democracy party, defeating George Papandreou of PASOK. It was very much business as usual, as the two were from the dynastic tradition in Greece, of political families providing the country’s leaders since the new era of democracy in 1944.

Syriza as a political party emerged in 2004 as a coalition of left wing groups (implied in its acronymic type name) challenging this tradition. The coalition held six seats but its members were engaged in various power struggles (hardly surprising as the radical alliance could count around twelve groupings within it).

After several years of internal struggle, a young Athenian politician Alexis Tsipras eventually gained the leadership of the Greek parliamentary opposition. His track record was as a student activist who had considerable media visibility through his energetic campaigning efforts which demonstrated his considerable personal charm and audience appeal.

Greece and the domino theory of collapse

Greece went on to suffer from increasing financial difficulties exacerbated by the global economic crisis which called for austerity measures imposed externally. By 2012, had Greece became the first domino within the theory of the collapse of the EU. The financial crises had a Darwinian feel to then, with the weakest national economy facing tough austerity measures or default from the club.

According to the domino theory, the default on the weakest economy would increase pressures via creditor institutions, on the next weakest. The IMF, the European Central Bank, and the World Bank were in complex ways influencing financial and political measures taken by national governments. The weakest economies would face increasingly painful decisions which acquired the euphemism of taking austerity measures. Opposition to such measures were simplified into anti-austerity policies. The next dominos included Spain, Portugal, Italy and even France. The most secure economy in the European Union was Germany. Increasingly German economic power was seen as dominant, and Angela Merkel seen as the most powerful political figure in Europe, and chief architect of the austerity measures being imposed on Greece. Greece was seen as fragile enough to make its exit from the EU (‘Grexit’) likely.

By then, Tsipras was attracting international attention for his anti-austerity speeches. Across Europe more extreme parties on the left and right were gaining ground. Disenchantment with austerity measures and the old political alliances was high. The country faced pressing demands to implement further demands in order to renegotiate a financial bail-out, needed to protect the very viability of the internal banking system.

Promise of a heroic rescue

Tsipras promised a heroic rescue. The Greek voters turned to Syritza and Tsipras’s anti-austerity proposals in an election of January 2015. He was sworn in as Prime Minister with a mandate to renegotiate the resented austerity measures.

Tsipras became the poster boy of youthful political protest around the world. At 40 he was the youngest Prime Minister of Greece and arguably the leader of opposition to the EU’s austerity programmes. His election promises had been greeted with incredulity in European leaders concerned with the wider financial stability of the Eurozone and their own internal political pressures. His success in the election was even more of a surprise.

The young hero flung himself into the battle with the forces of austerity. Any sympathy for his cause was weakened in the EU by his lack of diplomatic concealment of his contempt for his perceived protagonists. He was further weakened by the even more abrasive style of his chief financial negotiator.

In the first month of difficult negotiations Greece’s European lenders agree to extend its second bailout by four months with additional evidence of good faith by the newly appointed Greek government.

Neat footwork or stumble?

By June, the EU negotiators appeared to have been making progress, when Tsipras found a way of wrong-footing his opponents (although possibly wrong-footing his own cause as well). Facing unacceptable demands, he announces a hasty referendum on a possible bailout agreement. In July The electorate again supported Tsipras in rejecting the EU latest terms Tsipras assured the voters that the result would not be ‘Grexit’.

The timing resulted in further pressures on the Greek economy, but Greece agrees a bailout deal allowing more austerity measures. The government is in disarray and destabilised by defections.

Another snap election

Then in another piece of wrong-footing, Tsipras resigns and declares he needs a mandate for implementing the deal. A snap election is called for September, as he seeks a new mandate.

On 20 September, Alexis Tsipras wins but without a majority of seats. He is able to form a coalition and survives as the new protector of Greece’s austerity programs which he originally came to power by opposing.

He becomes Leaders We Deserve charismatic leader of the month for September 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Nigel Farage defines his role in the EU referendum process

September 26, 2015

Nigel FarageNigel Farage gains media attention and a reappraisal of his role in the EU referendum process at the UKIP conference at Doncaster

I listened on radio to the early stages of his opening address to his party’s annual conference. It was delivered in a convincing charismatic style. By that I mean one that appeals at an emotional level and which somehow minimizes rational evaluation of its implied assumptions.

Then I watched and listened to the later stage of the speech on BBC TV news. The theme had changed, and with it the impression it made on me. The naughty Nigel had crept out.

For a moment Nigel was nonplussed

The change occurred when he offered up some rather weak jokes about Jeremy Corbyn, and then targetted the leaders of the YES grouping in the forthcoming EU membership referendum. He began these with a mention of Richard Branson in only a mildly dismissive way.

Then he moved on to Tony Blair, this reference winning more reactions, jeers (presumably against Blair) and applause (presumably for Nigel). He was obviously building up to the third and most repulsive of the gang of three, none other than David Cameron.

He earned the desired increase of jeers and cheers which rather petered out, not helped by an off-colour remark about recent lurid publications about the undergraduate Cameron’s close encounter with a dead pig. For a moment Nigel was nonplussed at the ambiguous reaction to his joke.

“Well I liked it”

His customarily confident smile was replaced with a rather guilty smirk.   Or, at least that was how it came across to me.  He quickly sensed he had struck a false note.  But he is a consummate platform performer. “Well I liked it” he said, and switched back to being a selfless and visionary leader.  Nevertheless, a little magic had somehow slipped away.

The shift in style during the speech may have been calculated.  The early part of the presentation was rousing knockabout stuff.  UKIP has done well, and I and the party have been sorely traduced. The second part was a skillful presentation of a cause that even transcends direct loyalty to UKIP, namely to work to save the country by putting all energy into winning the EU referendum vote.  He identified the wider movement within which they would operate. This would be the  umbrella movement, Leave.eu funded by the wealthy Aaron Banks, who is a former influential backer of UKIP.

 He glossed over the recent more strained relationship with Mr Banks who seems to be attempting to minimize UKIP”s and Mr Farage’s influence in the EU referendum.

Conclusion

Edit out the weak passage, and you have an impressive performance. Nigel had decided to speak without notes.  This is a style that offers greater scope for empathic communication, and it mostly worked.

 The interpretation being placed on the speech is that Mr Farage  has indicated willingness  to become part of a wider political movement, and if requested will be persuaded to play a leading role in the referendum over EU membership.

The charismatic reply: Jose responds to a setback

September 19, 2015

200px-Jose_Mourinho-07Jose Mourinho deals with a dreadful start to the season by Chelsea with a typical charismatic response.

[This post is being updated during the Premier League season]

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By popular demand Camila Batmanghelidjh and Batman enter the Charismatic league tables

August 18, 2015


Following a request from a subscriber in Gotham City, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Batman have won promotion to the Charisma Premier league. Their names and ranking will appear when the list is updated in September

A subscriber purporting to come from Gotham City has successfully nominated both Camila Batmanghelidjh and Batman for inclusion in the Charisma league table.

The Batman nomination was accepted after his strong charismatic leadership performance over a period of many years.

Dr Batmanghelidjh , author of Shattered Lives, has been in outstanding charismatic form this month, as she battles to defend her company’s record under her leadership.

Another strong contender for the Charismatic leader of the month award is Donald Trump, with standout performances against a Fox News commentator and several Scottish wind farms, and for persuading a little girl that he is really Batman in disguise.


Mourinho reveals his superhuman powers of diagnosing medical injuries from the touch line

August 12, 2015

200px-Jose_Mourinho-07In the first match of the new season, league champions Chelsea draw at home to Swansea City. The Chelsea goalkeeper is sent off for a rash challenge.In the press conference after the game, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho criticizes Eva Carneiro, the club doctor, for attending to an injured player late in the game, an action which had forced the team briefly to continue with nine players on the pitch. 

He subsequently banned Dr Carneiro from the touchline in future games. Her future at Chelsea is in doubt.

The Special One

For a long time, many people have suspected that the Chelsea manager has superhuman powers. He is known as The Special One, a description that he never denied. His special gifts extend to never making a poor decision requiring him to admit fallibility.

Infrequently his explanations suggest that a match strategy has not been successful, but his true followers explain this as part of his genius at taking the blame for his players’ errors. Now we know the truth.

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Donald Trump leaps up Charismatic Leader league table

August 10, 2015

Donad TrumpDonald Trump has surged up the Leaders We Deserve league table of charismatic leaders for his controversial campaigning performances in the USA this week.

His polling popularity as presidential candidate of the Republican Party seems unaffected, maybe slightly enhanced, by the outrage produced by his remarks.

In the Charismatic League table published on July 25th, Donald Trump was languishing in mid-table just below David Cameron and new entrant Jeremy Corbyn.  His remarkable efforts this week were topped by his inflammatory remarks about Megyn Kelly, a Fox News interviewer, which implied that her questions were poor as a consequence of her hormonal condition.

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Joshua Wong demonstrates leadership qualities in Hong Kong’s political struggles

August 5, 2015

Umbrella MovementThis week [August 2nd, 2015] Western media reported further rumbles of protest from Hong Kong against the proposed electoral system being introduced from mainland China. Hong Kong’s student activist Joshua Wong examines the impact of The Umbrella Movement, and shows characteristics associated with other political revolutionaries

Last year [September-December 2014] a series of protests broke out against proposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system. The fundamental objection was to what was seen as Government control over acceptance of candidates for Hong Kong elections. Earlier student activist groups coalesced into a wider group which became known as The Umbrella Movement. The protests against a governing power is reminiscent of those in Singapore as it negotiated its liberation from Malaysia fifty years ago.

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