VERITY LUSH: Be strong and take the hits from your honest friends

Don't surround yourself with yes-men...
Don't surround yourself with yes-men...
Lesley says you can keep the white stuff, thank you! 
Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

LESLEY KEATING: It was almost perfect until cable firm scuppered it

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Whatever your personal or political opinions of either the Conservatives or Theresa May, the latter made an excellent point this week when she said that being surrounded by ‘yes men’ was a clear sign of weak leadership.

May is quoted as saying that strong leadership involves ‘having a range of voices sitting around the table’ which makes sense to me.

In every aspect of our lives we need people with whom we can bounce ideas around. You can’t make every decision on your own and some of the most important decisions we have to make come from talking things through with

people we trust, who will offer us their honest opinions, be they positive or negative.

Healthy challenge leads to improvements and better outcomes for all involved – as long as the person in charge (namely ourselves, if it’s linked to our personal lives), has the savvy and confidence to listen and take the points on

board.

Having robust and gritty conversations, offering different options and opinions, and being allowed to have, and voice, your own opinion, are elements that combine to make for strong leadership of not just business or the workplace, but also of your own life.

This is part of what our friends are for and also is a huge part of the role we ourselves play in being friends to others.

There’s nothing healthy about being in a friendship, or any kind of relationship, where you do not occasionally challenge someone’s thinking.

Humans are inherently selfish beings and the majority of us do not like being wrong. But sometimes we need that pointed out to us. We all have bad ideas, or display unacceptable behaviour at times, and life and work can be so hectic that we can’t see the woods for the trees and so do not recognise the mistakes we may be making.

Subsequently I am with May on this one. It may be more challenging not to be surrounded by obsequious yes-people, but I’d rather some healthy challenge that leads to better outcomes than sycophantic – and ultimately detrimental –

meaningless nods.

THE EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY-GO-ROUND OF DIETING

A student informed me this week that there are only 11 Mondays until Christmas.

The shops are now full of Christmas gifts and foodstuff and many people are scathing of this.

But given that if there are 11 Mondays left, then there are only two pay packets left, so it makes sense to get started.

We seem to spend half our year saving for summer holidays and the other half saving for Christmas, with little break between.

Ditto for the six months dieting after Christmas in preparation for our summer holiday, and then dieting for another six months after the summer in preparation

for Christmas.

Which leads me to believe that we are essentially scoffing our savings.

DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE

How on earth America can defend its gun laws beggars belief.

The link between not being allowed to bandy firearms about at will (eg the UK), and being able to wander about with a handgun (most of the states in the United States), cannot possibly be coincidental in terms of our incidents of mass shooting, versus theirs.

In America this year there have been what amounts to one mass shooting (defined by more than four people being shot dead in one incident), every single day.

Australia had a mass shooting in the 1990s. They changed their gun laws immediately. There have been no mass shootings since.

I will say it again: this is not coincidence. It is direct consequence. Cause and effect.