The Liberal party’s selection of a new leader is a fascinating look into what people want to see in a leader and this campaign in particular provides an interesting laboratory to study leadership.
In business, academia, etc leaders are not selected by their followers but by their predecessors so there is nothing really to study about leadership selection as it relates to followers. In past Liberal leadership races it was often predecessors who tried to influence leadership selection and this is one factor that got the party into trouble. In this campaign though, the waring factions of the party have been silenced so the winner won’t be selected by predecessors.
In actual elections, there are many other forces that come into play when selecting a prime minister or a president. Real elections are often about competing visions but in this leadership race you have a group of people who share a very similar vision or passion. While there may be minor differences in vision, it is harder to make this a major point of differentiation when there are more fundamental agreements than differences.
Real elections are often fought on a record of results so studying leadership selection here is confusing as well. In this campaign, it is difficult to differentiate based upon results. No one has screwed up royally in the past, and none of the candidates has a record of results that would provide a substantial differentiating factor.
That leaves it to three dimensions upon which a leader can be identified. Those are Policy, Politics, and Personality. Over this week, I’m gong to try and look at each of these areas and see how each has influenced the race. ( I should warn you in advance that I actually watched all candidate speeches on Saturday to try and figure this stuff out.)