Marcus Radford is LWD leader of the month for June 2020. He was figurehead of a campaign to persuade the government to change its policy towards free meals for schoolchildren during the summer break when schools were not open
A range of leaders were considered as candidates for Leader of the Month in our recent post. Their actions were to be overshadowed by the achievement and leadership style shown by Rashford subsequently over a period of days.
My notes below, from June 16, summarise the story
Breaking news. A government U-turn on vouchers for school meals. A triumph for Marcus Rashford’s campaign. I stop searching for the LWD leader of the month. The rapid closure of the story makes it easier to trace its key features.
Rashford has become a high-profile figure almost overnight. He presents himself as an articulate, dignified young man, with a convincing story which is easy to understand, backed up by his own experiences.
The PR pressure left the government with a classical dilemma, resist or accept the emotional potency of the case. Whatever prospect of succeeding vanished after a tweet from Therese Coffey:
‘Hi @MarcusRashford, I welcome your passion for supporting children and the most vulnerable in society – a passion we share. We are working to the same aim. I & this Govt will continue to actively help and support families and businesses through this emergency and beyond’
A tweet storm followed. Three hours later, the U-turn in advance of a debate on school meals scheduled for later this afternoon.
Rashford’s rocketing celebrity helps counter-balance the virtues of the charismatic leader which increase at times of crisis. No one previously singled out the soft-spoken Rashford as a potential leader, even for a football team.
Searching for explanations in the numerous theories of leadership , I can glimpse explanations in the Level five leadership of Jim Collins. The leader who is ‘modest but with fierce resolve’. This was discussed for football leaders in an earlier post
The other theory is of the authentic leader. While many politicians seek to claim their humble backgrounds, they too often seem inauthentic. Rashford exhumes a genuine belief for the cause he has so successfully espoused.
A refreshing discovery that we need not disregard leaders who do not fit the contentious stereotype of a charismatic personality.