That Boris Johnson is a larger than life character is beyond doubt. He is already a huge force in British politics and it is certain that we haven’t heard the last of him. But now he is out of the leadership race for the next Prime Minister we can take a moment to consider whether he might have made a good leader for the country or not.
Good leadership is a hard quality to define and when you are looking for leadership potential it is easy to get caught up in personal charisma instead. Which is why our Organisations Leadership Skills course takes time to consider a Leadership Competency Wheel that identifies all the qualities needed in a leader. This is a great way of looking dispassionately at someone’s performance while not getting overly caught up in their personality. This wheel identifies 10 qualities that a leader should express. Let’s take a look at how Boris Johnson rates for each of them.
Is Boris truly a visionary? Well he is certainly good at appearing to be one, but think about that long weekend after the Brexit referendum was first announced when Boris stayed holed up at home making up his mind which side to campaign on. It was quite possible that he might choose either side. So does he have a clear vision about exiting the EU or was it a tactical move to take him closer to being PM? My sense is that Boris’ vision relates more to his own career than to the country being outside the EU.
OK he can focus on a vision, but my sense is that when it comes to the detailed task of government I suspect he might be less focussed on the fine detail of legislation which is a large part of the job.
Open to feedback
So would Boris have made a good leader of this country through the exit from the EU? According to this list I would give him just 5/10. Perhaps that is what other politicians saw which is why he lost their support.
But whatever you think about Boris Johnson it is important when choosing a good leader to get beyond personal opinion and charisma. So taking each of these qualities in turn and considering the individual in the light of them will help in choosing a good leader for an organisation. Similarly, for those in a leadership position already it is a good mechanism for personal reflection to see how you can improve the way you serve your shareholders, staff, customers and other stakeholders.