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Lessons in Leadership: Visibility

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Lessons in Leadership: Visibility

It’s not surprising that the dismissal of Kwasi Kwarteng, U.K.’s former Chancellor of the Exchequer after a disastrous set of policies and less than two months into the role, has elicited so much attention.

You see when you are the first- or one of the first- from an under-represented group to gain a top leadership position, you are particularly visible. But not only is your rise remarkable but should you fail, it becomes even more so.

Minorities (the out-group) are often held to higher standards with high expectations. And their failure sometimes casts a pall over other worthy candidates from the group who are ready to rise.

In reality minorities need to be able to fail to open the way for others. Just as the failure of a person from an over-represented demographic (the in- group) doesn’t generally rule out others from the same group.

But Mr Kwarteng’s policy fails shouldn’t distract from the bigger issue. The repeated failure at stable British leadership (sadly) hardly seems remarkable any more. The last three Prime Ministers were forced to resign having lost support of their party. And this issue should not be overlooked in the current leadership turbulence.

In the meantime, whilst we look forward to the time where neither race nor gender is a hindrance to progress, for now the lack of diversity in leadership positions still suggests we are a long way from that goal.

But this shouldn’t scare away others. Indeed it should be seen as an opportunity. Because the best talent is sorely needed.

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Source: Dr Anino Emuwa

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