Friday, January 02, 2009

Leadership - not always alpha

In the Irish Times of 31st December, under the headline “We are stuck with inept trio and a dismal alternative”, Vincent Browne disparages the credentials of the current troika leading the government (Cowen, Coughlan & Lenihan) and Enda Kenny as the alternative Taoiseach.

I would, in the past, have agreed with Browne, but Kenny’s performance as leader of Fine Gael, both electorally (e.g. +20 seats at the last general election) and in his ability to put together and lead an increasingly credible front bench, must surely suggest that he should not be so easily dismissed as a political lightweight.

Vincent Browne is (at least in Ireland) the ultimate alpha male commentator, and Brian Cowen is the ultimate alpha male politician.

As Taoiseach, Cowen routinely demonstrates that this isn’t always the most productive or effective way of providing leadership, while Browne’s career as a publisher and editor should surely, by now, have taught him a basic lesson about the successful building and leadership of a team-based enterprise: the brightest boy in the class does not always make the best leader.

Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Times 5/1/09

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