Blog Image

Photon Learning

About the Blog

This blog is designed as a library of 'thoughts' and concepts for the students of Excel@Learning. It tries to speed up and simplify learning about core subjects including English, Maths and Sciences (Natural, Applied and Islamic) by breaking up topics into independent 'thoughts' or 'photons' of learning. You can contact us at . You can click to return to the Main Web Site.

Key Lessons in Political Leadership

Leadership & Organising Posted on Mon, February 18, 2013 09:57:25

I have recently been listening to an audiobook of the former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s autobiography called ‘A Journey’. By writing this book he has followed in the footsteps of leaders like the Roman Dictator Julius Caesar and the Emperor Claudius in putting his version of the story in the public arena to counter what his enemies may say about him. He portrays himself as someone who truly cares about both rich and poor people in the uk, sympathises with the Israeli governments’ heavy handed response to Palestinian attacks, ideologically opposed to Shariah Law being implemented anywhere in the world and as a result supportive of state sponsored terrorism against any Muslims who want this and being very anti Gordon Brown.

On the other hand, he has an excellent mastery over the use of words, is eloquent and persuasive, even slippery in his speech and has a positive manner in criticising and crediting his friends, team members and acquaintances. The exception being his description of Gordon Brown, which stands out as a charachter assassination with repeated doses of feint praise and heavy attacks akin to the Israeli governments’ against Hamas.

Dispersed throughout his book he mentions five key lessons of political leadership which he has learned and by mentioning in his book he is teaching, perhaps for the benefit of New Labour allies, but open to anyone, even Gordon Brown or Nick Clegg etc. These key lessons are as follows:

1. ‘The Ability to think anew’.

2. To be able to take decisions without dithering too long.

3. To take the ‘calculated risk’.

4. To take the ‘uncalculable risk’.

5. To understand public opinion but to make the decision that is ‘in their best interest’ rather than what they express to be their wish.

According to Tony Blair, ‘true leadership’ is to be able to do what is in the best interest of the country or the people even if it means doing the opposite of what the public want or losing your job, ending your career or all three. I believe he is mostly right in thinking this, but uncomfortably, this realisation seems to go against the foundations of democracy. This thinking led to his decisions on Iraq but it can also be argued that Adolf Hitler must have thought that his decisions were ‘in the best interests of Germany’ despite many Germans expressing views opposite to it and the rest of the world deciding that his policies were against ‘morality’ or ‘evil’.

Many people think that the US and UK governments have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in contravention of the Geneva Convention in Iraq, Abu Gharaib, Guantanamo Bay and Bagram. It is interesting to note that General Pinochet of Chile had US support when he made citizens of his country that opposed him ‘disappear’; how surprised he was when he was arrested decades later in the UK and tried for war crimes!


Leadership & Organising Posted on Wed, January 04, 2012 22:15:54

What is Leadership?

People argue about the question, ‘Is a great leader born or can a person be trained to become a great leader’. Like most issues there are three groups; the first say that great men are born to be great leaders, the second group say that anyone can be trained to be a great leader and the third group say that it is a mixture of the two: Genetic factors and circumstances of birth (e.g. birth rank and family situation…like being born a prince) and training both interact in producing a great leader.

Royal Air Force

The Royal Air Force training manual called ‘Fit to Lead’ says that good leaders should have four qualities: Courage, Fortitude, Tenacity and Professional Knowledge. Fortunately, these four are not terribly difficult to train nor are they very rare to be found in people.


CWO David Watson taught Non-Commissioned Officers in the Air Cadets the acronym PRIMED to remind them of six actions that a good leader should perform. These are:
leading by Example

How to spot future leaders

Leadership & Organising Posted on Wed, January 04, 2012 22:12:56

You can identify promising future leaders by looking for five key traits, according to Claudio Fernández-Aráoz from Egon Zehnder International:

1. Motivated to help others
2. Have four leadership traits:

a) Value learning

b) Have perseverance

c) Can make sense of information and seek out new ideas

d) Use logic and emotion to communicate their vision to the people around them in a compelling manner.

3. Can see themselves in a leadership role
4. Have technical skills to get the job done.
5. Have specialised knowledge.