Few people have led lives more unique than Dr. Mike Webster. After success as a pro football player, Iron Mike earned a place in the Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame. He then practiced as a clinical psychologist and worked frequently with police services. After Webster criticized its leadership, the RCMP first threatened, then dissociated him.
That did not stop the psychologist from providing private services to police officers and it most certainly did not end his criticism of RCMP brass. Much of it is published at Re-Sergeance.net but Dr. Webster’s advice is valuable to anyone in a position of leadership. He speaks to individual managers:
- You remind your team of the purpose of their work,
- You act as a role model i.e. you demonstrate integrity at every opportunity,
- You hold high expectations of your team members, but
- You walk the walk; you hold yourself to the same standards.
Webster lists the qualities of a great leader:
- first and foremost, a model of equity,
- one who sets clear and attainable goals,
- one who holds high expectations of self and others,
- one who encourages others,
- one who provides support and recognition of goal attainment,
- one who is able to stir the emotions of followers,
- one who is able to get others to look outside themselves,
- one who can inspire others to reach beyond their grasp.
Those qualities seem obvious but careful observers know they are in dreadfully short supply, particularly in politics. Leaders are subject to so many competing interests that remaining true to fundamental principles becomes a task too large for most. This failure appears to be happening with Canada’s prime minister where principles offered during Trudeau’s earliest days are dissolving in a miasma of expediency.
In British Columbia, principles have never guided the current Premier. Christy Clark learned as a young adult how to be seen and heard in an overcrowded place and she has excelled at what marketing experts call positioning. To her, the only realities that count are myths she can plant in the minds of uninformed voters. Lucky for her, unfortunately for British Columbia, there are plenty of those to be found.