Scottish referendum has salutary lessons for leaders

Brown’s referendum renaissance gives lasting hope to leaders, author says


In the wake of the Scottish referendum a London Business School leadership thinker and author has cautioned against exiting or exiling leaders we deem surplus to our new needs. 

Richard Hytner, Deputy Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, author ofConsiglieri: Leading from the Shadows and Adjunct Associate Professor of Marketing, London Business School, has spoken of Gordon Brown’s contribution to the ‘No’ campaign arguing that we are too quick to dismiss those who vacate the top dog’s office as past their sell-by date.

Writing on Huffington Post UK Hytner said: “Gratitude to Gordon should endure beyond his referendum renaissance. His stellar performance has further exposed our nation's futile obsession with failure.

“It also supports the idea that a life in leadership transcends title and tenure in a single role. The thought that Gordon Brown's greatest political triumph may have been won not as Chancellor, nor as Prime Minister, but as an elder statesman without office, should offer lasting hope to leaders throughout all organisations.”

It suits us to invest one individual with overarching accountability, Hytner argues: “In today's winner-takes-all popular culture, in which we celebrate the X Factor, and dismiss those without it with a Lord Sugar-coated, 'You're Fired!', we search for the charismatic, heroic leaders who can rise above, and withstand, the onslaught of social media.

“Leadership though can have a long shelf-life. The opportunity to create a leadership legacy stretches a long way and legacy can come in cameo roles. It is not restricted to the great moments of the centre stage.”