Poor results in the general election, the rise of a stronger opposition, disagreements within her own party and the looming problems of Brexit have led to arguments, backbiting and rumours of leadership challenges.
Whatever you think about Mrs May’s political stance, there are certain ways she – and you too, if you are a leader – can demonstrate that she remains in charge of the situation and offers the ‘strong and stable’ leadership she has long promised the country.
Experts in the field believe there are several main attributes that strong leaders possess. Knowing what these are and ensuring you demonstrate them at all possible opportunities can help you to develop a strong basis from which to lead others to success, whether your employees or the country you are leading.
One of the most important attributes a leader needs is commercial awareness. Being knowledgeable about the environment in which you operate – whether the impact of European law on the UK or your local area’s business opportunities – will allow you to come up with appropriate business strategies.
Our prime minister needs not only to be aware of how British business is responding to change but also to listen to what business experts and leaders are saying and act accordingly to restore confidence.
The second asset any leader needs is integrity. If your staff cannot believe what you say, or trust that you will carry out your stated plans, you will lose their respect. This is never good for productivity or efficiency.
Mrs May’s tendency to change her mind over policies that prove unpopular is not going to win her any medals for consistency. Once her assertions – for example, that she would not call a general election – are summarily overturned, she begins to lose all credibility. She needs to learn to stick to her guns and be more open and honest with the public.
In addition, leaders must be accountable. Owning up to mistakes made, and showing that you are not afraid to be criticised, will inspire respect from your staff and encourage them to do the same.
Another failing Mrs May has demonstrated is a lack of perceived emotional intelligence. Her manner during the election campaign was seen by many as removed from reality – cold and calculating rather than warm and engaging. This is one of the reasons Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign did so well – he is seen by many as a ‘man of the people’.
Good leaders show empathy with their employees, are friendly and approachable to people at all levels of society, and are not afraid to demonstrate their humanity.
Learning what makes a good leader and acting on these lessons will help you to succeed in business – and could make Mrs May’s life a little easier.
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