Source | LinkedIn : By Prabhakar Mundkur
The sudden resignation of David Cameron and the appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister of the UK has two important questions for management and leadership.
The cost of standing by your beliefs
( David Cameron resigned from his position as Prime Minister because he was a supporter of the ‘Remain’ Group of the Brexit Referendum which his government actively promoted and he perhaps felt that he could hardly be a Prime Minister who did not agree with the decision of the voting public )
Letting ambition overcome belief
( Mrs Theresa May as Home Secretary supported the Remain Group of the referendum as promoted by the Conservative Party and the government of which she was Home Secretary, but was happy to accept the post of Prime Minister and support the Leave vote of the Referendum if she formed the government )
This raises a question of ethics and philosophy in management and leadership. Should one work for a belief that you don’t support in a company or a country or should you work for something that is against your belief because it offers you a better position politically or materially in your country or company.
The Actions – Belief Paradox
Often managers and leaders are faced with this paradox during the course of their career.
Consider this about beliefs and values. Explicit beliefs and values are those that the leader openly acknowledges — they are also called espoused beliefs. However, there’s often a gap between the beliefs and values a leader espouses and their behaviour. People often do things that conflict with the values they claim they have.
Conflict between espoused public views and leadership behavior is problematic because it makes it appear that the leader is not being honest about his or her beliefs.
For example what happens when they disagree with the Board of Directors on an important policy matter?
The CEO has two options:
1. Agree to abide with the boards decision even if it goes against one’s grain, thereby retaining the position or being promoted or rewarded in some way. This is a case of ambition overtaking belief. ( read Theresa May )
2. Resign from your position because you find the decision by the board is so much against your beliefs that you find the current position tenable. ( read David Cameron )
In the no 1 option if your beliefs are already known you are likely to lose some respect in some quarters of your company for going against your beliefs. But this is a trade off and you might just gain in material success and help you take your career path forward. This might in the long term outweigh the conflict of not standing by and supporting your own beliefs.