I am beginning to think that the art of leadership has been lost. Everywhere I look I see leaders who are either ineffective, power-hungry or confused. I am passionate about good leadership. A good leader is someone who is able to work collaboratively and build consensus with a team. However, s/he is also able to make the hard decisions and move on. A leader must respect their staff and listen attentively to what they are saying. Another hallmark of a great leader is someone who is able to control themselves and not let other things affect their work. Leaders must be role models. Decisions must be made rationally and explained completely. A leader must also accept criticism and genuinely look at themselves. Constant self-assessment is necessary as well as the ability to make changes appropriate to the situation. A good leader leads so that people want to follow.
Today Carole James, leader of the NDP in BC, removed Bob Simpson from the NDP caucus because pointed out the obvious: the NDP are not moving ahead in the polls and that she had little to offer in regard to funding for municipalities. James stated that Simpson had been openly critical of where the NDP caucus is going. Now, it is not a big surprise that Carole James is not premier material.* By today’s decision she is showing that she does not have leadership skills. You don’t get rid of colleague because they question your leadership and your position. Simpson’s comments were in direct response to a matter of party policy. Shouldn’t MLAs be allowed to engage in discussion about matters of policy particularly between elections? It is not like he undermined her leadership during an election. I really don’t get why James would have done this unless she is trying to emulate Gordon Campbell.
In my opinion, a good leader would have worked with someone like Simpson. Obviously he has thoughts about this issue perhaps he could have been asked to contribute a policy paper on the facts. Instead of using his skills for the good of the party, she acted in an autocratic, authoritarian way. Leaders who act like this generally fear for their power, so by asserting her authority in this kind of situation James has left herself wide open for further criticism.
Simpson is correct. The party needs renewal. James has lost two elections to Gordon Campbell who, after his drunk driving incident, was weak. She should have been able to exploit so many bad and misleading decisions made by his government. For some reason, James does not resonate with the public. I am not sure why but she does not have the presence or the charisma to become premier. I think she is genuinely a good person with good intentions but she doesn’t inspire me.
There are others in the NDP party who do inspire me. Both Jenny Kwan and Adrian Dix seem to have an excellent grasp of many issues. They are well spoken and have charisma and presence. Although Dix does have some baggage from the Glen Clark years when he was a political staffer but I think most people have forgotten that connection by now.
It is time for an NDP leadership convention, the sooner the better in my opinion!
*I covered this in a blog post here.