Double-Down or Draw-Down on Dynasty?
Is it better for a leader to eschew or embrace one’s predecessor? When does it make sense to bring a former leader back in from the cold? Last week, UK Labour leader Ed Miliband took a calculated risk, inviting three-term Prime Minister Tony Blair to take the podium on his behalf to dispense some sagely polished musings about the state of Europe. Similarly, Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, was until recently written off as a political liability after a disappointing single term in office. Brown was able to rehabilitate his reputation, however, through his tireless efforts to help squash the Scottish referendum, and now finds his oratory once more in huge demand—this time to help Labour boost its disastrous polling in Scotland.
“Blair and Brown offer two recent examples of when it can make sense to bring the leader back in from the cold,” writes Richard Hytner in a Huffington Post article titled “Leaders Who Put Their Predecessors on the Podium Should Proceed with Caution.” The author of Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows and Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the London Business School is careful to qualify these wary political embraces: “In both cases, the interventions were discreet by design, a swift in and out, before too much lingering resentment could resurface.”
Dynastic dilemmas holds more currency than ever this year, as America girds up for a Presidential contest that is likely to find in its Democratic candidate a former First Lady and Secretary of State vs. a Republican scion who counts both a brother and a father as ex-Presidents. In his Huffington Post column, Hytner suggests some strict parameters for wheeling out former leaders for political gain, including to explicitly define the returnee’s role, issue, and duration of stay in the limelight.
Read the full article here.« Back to Media Articles