Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Political Leadership and Diversity

I just read a very interesting repost by Lesley Whyte on LinkedIn of "Things That Have More Women In Them Than Tony Abbott’s Cabinet" by Steph Harmon.

What really surprised me was the number of people - or groups - whom we assume significantly lack diversity, yet who are actually more diverse than we expect. One group which took me quite by surprise in Steph's list was the writers of Madd Men. Seven of the nine writers of that show are women.

So how does this relate to leadership, or to acts of leadership?

Well I think it comes back to where we are on the 'openness to experience' spectrum. At one end we can surround ourselves with those who challenge, change and encourage us to explore new ways of doing things; at the other we can surround ourselves with people who think and act just like us. 

One end is uncomfortable, where we have to be able to cope with flux and transformation. The other end is comfortable, seductive and static. 

One end equates to diversity, of ideas, approach and possibilities. The other end is for us to keep doing the same thing.

I don't know enough about Tony Abbott to say that he is closed-minded. But his cabinet and ministers appear to be to be the 'same old same old' group of cronies, who feel very similar to their leader. So it seems to me that Mr Abbott is working more at the static, comfortable end of the spectrum.

Because of this, I suspect that Tony Abbott has surrounded himself with a load of 'yes' men. It will be interesting to see how long the agreement lasts.


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