Political leadership

A colleague has pointed me at a rather charming anecdote in a tome that was available at Bournemouth conference last autumn. The Politics of Leadership was a book available at a stand promoting Be A Councillor when it ran in London. It’s published by the Leadership Centre for Local Government, ISBN 978-1-84049-639-0

One of the chapters is called “Thinkers, fixers and communicators” and the author, Joe Simpson, explains it thus:

I think of politicians as thinkers, fixers or communicators. To be a good politician you need to be good at – at least – one of these attributes. To be great, you need at least two. In fiction, you might find someone who excels at all three.

But the real fun comes at the end of the chapter:

As an aside, the Leadership Centre runs development programmes for rising local government political talent for each of the three main parties. I recently asked each member of the three Next Generation cohorts which one of the three thinker, fixer or communicator categories they would ascribe themselves. The Labour response covered all three, but out of the Conservatives, only one person thought of themselves as a thinker – instead we had a room full of fixers and communicators. And with the Liberal Democrats, only one person (a party staffer) saw themselves as a fixer: most thought they were thinkers. Recounting this outcome to a prominent Liberal Democrat council leader, he replied that that’s precisely why he found it so easy to succeed in his party, always being the one person in his circle who operated as the fixer.

The predominance of thinkers would certainly explain why we get so many comments whenever we discuss just what it means to be a liberal in these troubled times.

So, dear reader, where do you fit in? Thinker, fixer or communicator?

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This entry was posted in Books.
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One Comment

  • Lorna Spenceley 1st Apr '09 - 3:16pm

    I remember Paddy Ashdown asking me this very question when he interviewed me for a job years ago. He said that looking at my CV he thought I was a ‘doer’ (he didn’t use the word ‘fixer’). I said I thought I was a communicator. I didn’t get the job in the end. But part of the interview process was to write him a speech on a topic of our choice; I started mine with a quote, and oddly enough that quote started off several front-bench spokesmen’s speeches for about six months afterwards 🙂

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