The best way to connect to an audience is by being real

Many leaders fear openness and transparency but actually this is really important in order to connect.

In 1982, Lord Carrington, the British Foreign Secretary resigned following Argentina’s invasion of The Falklands. A New York Times article son the 6th April 1982 wrote:

“the man who once said his goal was to ”restore the self-respect of Britain” acknowledged in a radio interview that he had incorrectly judged the Argentine military buildup that led to the lightning assault on the Falklands at dawn last Friday. He declined to put the blame on faulty intelligence work, insisting that ”I was wrong in the assessment of what they were doing and therefore I am responsible.”

In simple words, Lord Carrington resigned as he accepted his own mistake.

Out of interest, how many believe that any of today’s politicians would follow his example?

  • Did Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling resign their posts because of the 2008/9 financial crisis which was arguably worse than The Falklands?
  • How many resigned because of the Iraq war?
  • Or does anyone expect any resignation over the terrorist attacks?

In fact if one researches how many Government Ministers have resigned on such a principle as Lord Carrington since 1996, then will not be reading much information. There is always a reason why it is someone else’s failure. Look at Prime Minister Blair’s approach to the Iraq war which was more of a case of arguing his case than acting in an open and factual method.

If politicians – society’s leaders – do not need to be accountable then of course this will knock on to business and beyond.

Good leadership is all about the values that the leaders set.

Why is this important?

Very simple. One of the consistent arguments is that it is hard to find emerging leaders that will be accountable. It is a fair argument but why should they be accountable if their leaders are not?

If we want accountable leaders, then there needs to be leaders that really engage their teams again rather than being so often a step removed. Mistakes happen in life but surely the General Election showed that people forgive those that make mistakes but believe in something. Corbyn was pretty awful in his interviews but this did not dent the following he developed for he engaged people and believed in something more than just a dull, organised message. People forgive mistakes. In fact, many of Britain’s greatest leaders over the years have been pretty flawed in character but were loved almost because of their faults but mostly as people believed they led.

Many leaders fear openness and transparency but actually this is really important in order to connect.

We have so many meetings with marketing teams that talk of their brand but so few of their messages really connect with their target audiences. Just ask yourself how many adverts you instantly and unprompted recall from the TV? Or from walking through tube stations? Of even form suppliers?

Messaging and leadership needs to be real in order to connect.

For more information about EP please contact Ben.butler@epmagazine.co.uk