As I watch with unsurprising bemusement, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, routinely is in the newspapers with actions or words that reflect a consistent lack of good judgment. Apparently, there is a lot of fodder in his history just as PM, that begs the routine question, “who on earth told you that was a good idea?” But, maybe that is the problem – the PM like others in leadership positions need a “handler.”
I recognize this is supposed to be one role of their Chiefs of Staff or whatever title said person has, but that person is not enough. There needs to be someone who has a watchdog role that can step in and say “that would be a very unwise move.” Boris, among others, would benefit greatly from such a person. Yet, Boris would need them to be doing a lot of overtime, as he has a wont to expound on things.
Boris is compared to the former president of the United States, but as one reporter said yesterday, they are not alike, but swim in the same cesspool. The numerous books and articles about Donald Trump paint a very untruthful and mercurial person to work for. This is a key reason he has so much turnover – people leave or get fired for getting on his wrong side.
Mercurial is a good word as Trump staff’s trying to manage him is akin to trying to hold Mercury in your hands – it is not possible. The more reputable books about Trump indicate a person who to sway him, you want to be the last person to talk with him. They are the Trump whisperers. Sadly, those Trump whisperers are not handlers as much as manipulators. Trump needs before, during and after the White House a handler to tell him not to attack everyone and stop opining on things that don’t matter. Plus, the person could be his fact checker telling him that something he is saying is not in the ballpark of being accurate.
Every leader would benefit from a handler, but there are some who would benefit greatly whether they are elected Downunder, in South America or in eastern Europe. I am setting aside the autocratic type leaders as their caretaking is a whole different matter. The handler would ask key questions hopefully before the action occurs:
-is calling someone a “loser” or “idiot” the best argument?
-is pretending to know a subject matter when you obviously do not the best thing to do?
-is opining on the entertainment news of the day something that in your position should be doing?
-is now the best time to take a vacation when people are in a bad way?
-if this got out in public, is this something you could defend?
-do you honestly think anything these days can be kept out of social media?
-the best closing argument would be “you could do that, but it would make you look like an effing idiot.”
Handler. It would be a tough job. Especially when the boss is his own worst enemy.