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Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby

Michael Maccoby is an anthropologist and psychoanalyst globally recognized as an expert on leadership. He is the author of The Leaders We Need, And What Makes Us Follow.

Vices can be humanizing

No one performing under the glare of media spotlights can hide personal vices. But the result of being exposed is not always damaging. Since Gordon Brown was accused of angry outbursts, cursing and throwing things at inept underlings, his poll ratings and the fortunes of the Labour Party have improved. I suspect these accusations have humanized the Prime Minister in the eyes of some Brits and I read in the British press that focus groups have actually shown that swing voters warm to Brown the more they hear about his temper.

Last summer while in London, I attended a session of Parliament and through my psychoanalytic lens, observed Brown debate David Cameron, leader of the Tories. When he spoke, Brown's body language was rigid, unmoving, controlled and obsessive. He looked straight ahead or down at his notes, avoiding eye contact with other members of Parliament. In contrast, as he criticized and poked fun at Brown, Cameron was Mr. Personality, charming, amusing, gesturing with broad movements, smiling and making contact with his followers.

Cameron has been ahead in the polls, but his lead is narrow and the British public is still not sure what he stands for other than marketing himself. Perhaps by having his temper exposed, Brown has been revealed as passionately pursuing an agenda which the public understands. No one likes a bully, but a flawed hardworking boss with a short temper is better than the robotic image Brown sometimes projects.

By Michael Maccoby

 |  March 2, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
Category:  Leadership weaknesses Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The media is veering away from the real issue here. President Obama is normal, human and as such will have issues that he needs to deal with. People need to focus on their own issues and stop taking the limelight away from themselves. It is far easier to focus on what other people do rather than to turn inwards and address our own issues.

Sex in the Boardroom (leadership development)
If it's to be: It's up to me
Back from Hell

Posted by: IBCoaching | March 2, 2010 4:54 PM
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