Keir Starmer PM  – is he a force for good?

All politicians are liars. None of them can be trusted. Really? Is this true? I don’t think so. For sure, there is room for improvement in the general trustworthiness of our political leaders.

As someone who has campaigned for greater levels of trustworthiness in leadership over the past seven years, I understand the frustration thousands of people felt when they visited their polling booths yesterday. What is the point? Nothing will change regardless of who is in Downing Street and so on…

But today, we wake up to a new Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer. Will Sir Keir be the perfect leader for this country?  No. But is he a force for good? At heart, is he in it for himself, or is he one of those rare leaders who are driven by a higher purpose to make the world a better place? Time will tell, but our job is to keep that hope alive that some leaders are a force for good because without it we sink into cynicism, bitterness and despair.

Regardless of position, I believe that  ‘Inside each leader is a force for good and a force for bad. Which one wins? The one you feed’. We all have the seed of goodness within us, but the bigger question is how to feed that seed such that it grows to become the good habits that sustain a purpose-driven leader and keep them motivated, resilient and authentic through the ups and downs of organisational life. As Keir Starmer sets out his stall as Prime Minister I recommend a threefold diet –

UP – He needs to identify, serve, stay connected to and feel the achievement of his higher calling in public office

IN – He needs to stay motivated, resilient and energised to sustain the journey over his full-term

OUT – He needs to bring his cabinet, his party and the country with him on the journey as he pursues the goals of his premiership

Like all leaders, he will be something of a ‘two-legged stool’. In other words, he will be naturally strong at two of the UP, IN or OUT of purpose-driven leadership and weaker on the third dimension. Having seen him in action on the campaign trail, I suspect he may have the ‘Martyr’ leadership profile. In other words, I do not doubt his passionate sense of mission (UP), or his ability to work hard to bring people with him on the journey (OUT), but I am concerned that he may burn out halfway through the journey. The job of the Prime Minister is uniquely lonely, relentless and demanding. With this in mind, he needs to focus on the IN aspects of purpose-driven leadership to ensure he can run the full marathon and seize the prize.

Maybe the highest vision Keir Starmer could set for his time as leader of our country is to become a force multiplier – a leader who ignites in us a desire to become a force for good ourselves. We know that transforming our country will require more than one great leader; it will require thousands of us to find again the hope that tomorrow could be better than today – a hope that many of us have lost through the trials and tribulations of recent years.

Dr John Blakey is an executive coach for purpose-driven leaders and author of Force for Good (August 2024)

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