The impending general election brings a barrage of politicians selling their wares in an attempt to win our votes. I am torn between fulfilling my civic duty and supporting a system that seems to have completely lost its way. This got me thinking about what conscious leadership could bring to politics!
Let me start with some of the problems.
- Lack of Authenticity. When was the last time you heard a politician speak and believed what they said? They have got so used to spinning their way out of trouble and ‘towing the party line’ that it is difficult to know what they believe in. If we don’t believe what they are saying then how can we trust them to run the country?
- Lack of Authority. It wasn’t that long ago that politicians were respected and held in high regard, whether you agreed with their views or not. Through a series of scandals, greed and low moral standards they have lost the high ground. People are in no mood to give it back to them.
- Fear of Failure. We are in an age of career politicians where we actively discourage any interest outside of Westminster. From inside the bubble, the world is a scary and unpredictable place. The knee jerk ministerial response to complexity and problems is to impose ever more control and regulation. I have lost count of the number of times a politician takes action so that something ‘can never happen again’ – until of course, it does!
So we have a cohort of politicians who lack authority, are not trusted and who are afraid to delegate responsibility because they are terrified of losing power. Is this really what we need for the 21st Century?
How might a conscious politician be different?
- Authentic. I think a conscious politician would have the courage to say what they really believed in and still be able to support their party. They would admit their mistakes and really mean it when they apologise. Providing they didn’t make too many mistakes I suspect we would trust them far more than the ‘Yes’ men and women we get served up with.
- Moral Authority. You can’t take the high ground you can only be given it. To get there these days you have to let go of your ego and genuinely want to serve others. If these values were consciously embedded you wouldn’t conceive of fiddling expenses any more than you would cheat someone in your close family.
- Acceptance & Trust. The opposite of fear based control is acceptance & trust. If you can trust in the wisdom and ability of other people (and allow them to resolve their own problems) then you can let go of the need to keep everything close. There will be teething problems to work through but the prize is worth having. By letting go you can use the energy released for more important work and the people you have trusted can unlock more of their energy & creativity too.
My idea of a conscious politician is someone who has natural authority, is trusted and has the courage to allow people to run their own lives. Conscious politicians would start to dissolve the dependency culture we have unwittingly created and they might even be able to work across parties to solve the big problems rather than wasting their energy on explaining their differences on the small ones.