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Role Modelling: Interesting debate today at an in-house Management Academy.

13 Feb, 2020
Role Modelling: Interesting debate today at an in-house Management Academy.

Role Modelling: Interesting debate today at an in-house Management Academy.


Today I was running an in-house #managementacademy for one of our valued clients. This programme is typically aimed at middle managers (an ILM level 5).


This organisation is healthy and successful, and they have looked at leadership from the Directors through to the front line operatives in all departments. It is a pleasure to work with them.


One of the Modules is ‘Lead2Succeed’ and we debate and discuss leadership and followership i.e. who would you follow and why?


The debate compares and contrasts different leadership scenarios such as sports, political, businesses, movements, religions etc.

Today, as like other sessions the political leadership agenda arose and, as usual we discussed Boris and Trump. The subjects of role modelling and leading by example, living values and demonstrating integrity and how important are these really when you are leading to gain followers.

There were views challenging the necessity of role modelling and integrity if people follow you anyway. There was also the contra-argument about why and how people follow you. With the current UK unemployment market at an all-time low, employees have a greater choice of where they work and they exercise that choice if they are not that happy and motivated in their current role.

There is compelling evidence that followers look for inspiration, trustworthiness and authenticity from their leader for them to truly and desirably follow without fear, concern or a sceptical view affecting their complete buy in and shared ownership. This is becoming increasingly important to the emerging generation in today’s and tomorrow’s workforce.

So what are our role models demonstrating to our followers?

It could be argued that Trump was voted in due to a growing appetite for change away from the traditional political environment (broken promises, abuse of power etc). The one thing you can say about Trump (and there are many other examples where he is not a great role model), he is delivering what he promised in a number of key areas of his campaign. I’m not justifying his decisions, only he is following through on some of his promises which interestingly is one of the key attributes today’s group mentioned as desirable to follow.

I recall speaking to a group of American citizens 6-8 months post election and they claimed that whilst they had more dollars in their pocket under the Trump administration, they had regrets over their choice of vote.

It can also be said about Boris that he gained the vote of the public due to the failings of the main opposition and the over-riding need for certainty and a plan to move forward from the turmoil of ambiguity and tit for tat negotiations.

Again individual political views are respected whilst they may not be shared by all and I’m not inviting an onslaught of abuse from anyone with a different political view as this is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about role modelling not which colour party you support.

Take this back in to your organisation. Are your leaders role models of the right behaviours? Are they demonstrating the values that are impressed upon all employees and promoted to your customers and prospects?

Are the business leaders in the right shape to lead the team to the desired destination?

Are values alive within your organisation or simply a set of sentences that look good on your website and your building entrance?

I’m speaking at an event in a couple of weeks in London about the #Leadership Behaviours required in the new era of employment and how leaders need to embrace a greater sense of adaptability than a fixed mindset on traditional leadership theories.

I welcome your views on this subject as I’d like to share them with the next Academy group as alternative or supportive.

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