Exclusion Hurts. Inclusion Heals.

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Enoch Powell is not a politician that we would normally look to quote but he was probably on point when he said, “All political careers end in failure.” At long last, Rishi Sunak has finally made a big call and Suella Braverman’s time in power has come to an end. It takes a unique capability to be sacked from the same job twice in a year.

Some have reported that she was trying hard to get sacked, others might say that she has been doing that since Liz Truss appointed her just over a year ago.

The sacking was one we were all waiting for, it has seemed just a matter of when for a very long time. How many more times could she fail everyone around her without consequences. Suella, more than any other British Politician, looked to polarise and divide at every intervention. Her decisions were constantly met with disappointment from former MPs and Britain at large. As a political leader, your role is to make the right calls for the nation – the job is all about gaining the trust and support of as many as you are able to. It certainly is not easy or straightforward.

In business, it is also the role of the leader to try to take as many of your colleagues with you as possible. This is what inclusion is. Trying hard to ensure that no one is left out or left behind.

It is rare to see a leader consistently go out of their way to polarise and divide in the way that Braverman did every time she spoke out. If there ever has been an object lesson in how not to be inclusive, she has been it. She was always quite brazen and transparent about who she was attacking and excluding. In the end, it was hard to argue that she was always only out for herself – the satisfaction of the people’s trust was never in her mind, for that, she has rightly suffered the consequences.

Braverman overstayed her welcome and it feels like Sunak has waited far too long to make this call. Sunak was almost waiting for more data and evidence to sack Braverman. What more evidence did he need? When a leader is so divisive and goes out of their way to exclude large sections, they need to be challenged and stopped.

Usually, it might be to give them a coach, some urgent development courses but most of all, instant feedback on the implications of their behaviour and how they might do things differently. In severe cases it might even lead to the termination of their contract of employment. We have witnessed all of these actions.

Doing nothing, or just gathering more data and evidence can leave many still suffering and struggling to perform in such an adversarial an environment.

To watch this disastrous approach to leadership playout in public was harrowing for so many. What more did she have to do to even get a bit of a rebuke from her leader? “I would not have used those words” said by her colleagues and the prime minister is hardly what was necessary.

Braverman’s comments on serious issues of the day were getting worse each time – there was nothing but a shameful display of reckless partisanship on policing, homelessness, and immigrants. Our leaders, at work and in government must be inclusive.

Bringing in diverse individuals is not enough – they too must practice inclusion.

Business leaders have the power to do things our politicians are failing to do.


Thought for the week:

Stop the divisive language, and think about including everyone


Tips to becoming an A player:

  • Learn to get out the way
  • Listen to the young, they may just know more than you
  • Embrace diversity
  • Admit when you’re wrong
  • Allow every voice to be heard

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