"Wimp", "Spineless", "Coward", "Faceless", and a favourite, "Rudderless", are just some of the appalling names our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been called by the public and media of late. In light of Rudd’s recent major policies abandonment, reported bad temper and what some believe is the mother of all blunders - Labour’s $42 billion dollar economic stimulus package; it is no surprise that the latest Newspoll reported an 11 per cent plummet in the PM’s popularity from 50 per cent down to 39.
Australia’s leading image consultant and CEO of Image Group International Jon-Michail says, “One can have many skills associated with a good leader and hold the title of Prime Minister, but as I always say to my clients, ‘it’s not what we do, it’s who we are’ and Kevin Rudd has shown us his true colours over time."
Leadership is the process of social influence whereby one can enlist the aid of others by gaining their confidence and support in the accomplishment of a common task. As part of Image Group International’s leadership branding seminars, Jon-Michail coaches his clients about the three major limiting factors a person can have, namely, their own knowledge and skills, their subordinates' skills and their work environment.
Kevin Rudd embodies all of the above. After all he was elected into his position, so that should stand for something. However, according to Jon-Michail, "Rudd’s major leadership-limiting issue and the reason he has failed to direct our country in an affirmative direction is that he is not authentic".
“Kevin Rudd is a smart guy, he has covered the three major leadership factors, however what limits his leadership is he lacks authenticity. Rudd is a facade who comes across rehearsed. As a result the public has lost their respect for him, therefore his level of influence as a leader has fallen.”
“His calmness and collectedness in front of the camera is mostly an act and as soon as the cameras stop rolling, Kevin Rudd reveals his true colours, that he is not as polished as the image he tries to promote. This can be summed up by his reported rudeness towards the young Royal Australian Air Force flight attendant when he reportedly brought her to tears over a meal dispute early last year."
Michail’s Leadership Branding seminars also cover the four main sources of leadership:
• Legitimate power, which comes from being appointed by the organisation into a leadership role.
• Expertise or skill power, which comes from having knowledge or skills which will help the group to achieve goals.
• Respect or affection power, where a leader who is liked and respected by subordinates, peers and superiors, will have influence over a group of people.
• Reward and or coercive power, which comes from the power to influence pay, promotion and recognition of followers.
Of course it is plain to see that Rudd possesses ‘legitimate power’ as it was us, the people who voted him into his role as PM. With regards to the second element ‘expertise power’, Kevin Rudd is well known for his public service roles and high networking skills.
The third element ‘respect power’ - this is where Rudd crumbles. “The public’s respect and adoration levels for Kevin Rudd have plummeted,” said Michail. Wide criticism and name-calling he has received is testament to this. Even the people close to Rudd have highlighted this, for instance, the loss of close staff has been a well known problem with records showing he has hired and lost over half a dozen assistants since his arrival at The Lodge.
And finally, “Kevin Rudd’s failure with ‘respect power’ ultimately means he does not have ‘reward and coercive power’ as the two go hand in hand,” says Michail. Influential power in politics comes from the peoples respect for their leader, something which Rudd seems to be losing rapidly in an election year.
“You can have most of the skills, pretend to be authentic and get elected. You can fool people once, twice, but not all the time. Like Bob Marley said in his song Get Up Stand Up, “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time,” says Jon-Michail.
A satirical cartoon is available as an accompaniment to this article.
Image Group International
Image Group International and the Institute for Image Management, an Australian based multi-million dollar corporate brand image advisory and coaching organisation represented in over 18 countries.
CEO and founder of Image Group International, Jon-Michail, is an image coach to business leaders, politicians, sports icons and celebrities. He is the only Australian to be a winner of the prestigious International Image-Maker of the Year USA Award. Jon-Michail is also the recipient of the 1999 Australian Achievers Award, winner of the Hong Kong Bank Business Award for export services and has received many other business and marketing achievements.
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