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Thursday, 05 September 2019 14:56

What Type of Leader is Boris?

Describing events at Westminster over the past week or two as turbulent might be considered as something of an understatement. We must allow, of course, for the fact the Government and political parties operate differently to business organisations. However, it’s notable that those who set the laws by which businesses must operate, don’t behave themselves in a way that we might recognise as being business-like.

For example, following a vote in the House of Commons last week, Boris Johnson bluntly sacked 21 Conservative Members of Parliament for voting against his wishes to keep “no-deal” as an option during EU negotiations. Whilst the rebels will remain, at least in the short term, as MPs, they have been expelled from the Conservative party.

In normal business practice, dismissal for “failing to follow a management instruction” is quite acceptable; it is usually regarded as gross misconduct and we have presided over a number of such cases for our clients. In a workplace scenario we would usually expect some procedure to be followed however, such as an investigation, even for a cut and dried case that results in summary dismissal. Failure to follow procedure would usually make a dismissal unfair.

The PM’s behaviour during these events demonstrates a leadership style that we would describe as ‘Autocratic’. We usually see this style of leadership in the armed forces during wartime or the emergency services in a disaster response scenario. It can create an unsettled or anxious environment. An autocratic leader will hold absolute power over a team and often make decisions without consultation.

There is also an element of Transactional Leadership in Mr Johnson’s relationship with his political colleagues. The party rules are clear that the consequence for voting against instructions from the leader is expulsion, so that is exactly what has happened. Despite the potential loss of some big names from the political arena, it’s almost refreshing to see clear and decisive action taken in what is otherwise a theatre of hesitancy.

At HR Champions, we strongly promote the importance of understanding different leadership styles. Indeed, it’s a subject we cover across all of our ILM Leadership training programmes; albeit with a different approach depending upon whether it’s discussed at level 2, 3 or 4.

As individuals, we all tend to have a default leadership style that we adopt in normal situations. These are likely to be modified depending upon the given situation, especially if it involves an element of stress, pressure or tension.  

As well as understanding the leadership styles of our own bosses so that we can behave and act accordingly, it is even more important to recognise our own style of leadership and the effect that is has on our team members. We must also appreciate how stress and pressure affects our own behaviour and try to moderate this so that we maintain a style that gets the most from our team and keeps us in control of the situation.

It will be interesting to see if Boris modifies his leadership style over the coming days and whether or not this helps him to achieve his aims. There can be no doubt he is in a stressful situation, but will he recognise his own behaviour and use this to his advantage? We can only wait to see.

In addition to those already mentioned, other recognised leadership styles the PM might adopt include Bureaucratic, Diplomatic, Laissez-faire, Functional and Transformational. We feature in-depth discussion sessions about leadership styles in each of our ILM Leadership courses which we are currently providing fully funded.

Businesses in Bristol & West of England, Swindon & Wiltshire and Worcestershire can benefit from the funding. To find out more simply call or email us on 01452 331331 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see further details at www.hrchampions.co.uk

Read 188 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 September 2019 09:38

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