Why am I mentioning this? In the last few days my mind drifted towards his advice to leaders on selecting advisers (aka deputies and assistant police and crime commissioners) and I dug out my other blog post about this:
‘A prince must therefore always seek advice… he must always be a constant questioner, and he must listen patiently to the truth regarding what he has inquired about’
I knew a Chief Executive once who was so ‘pleased’ with the results of a staff survey he had commissioned that he had the resulting report copies and all the questionnaires shredded.
- Do you have people around you who tell you the truth?
- How do you know?
- If the truth is not what you want to hear – how do you react?
- How does your leadership inspire truth?
And on holding back the truth
‘…moreover if he finds that anyone for some reason holds the truth back he must show his wrath’
My contention then and now, is that the best leaders have people around them whom they can trust to tell them the truth about what is happening and indeed them challenge them. If leaders surround themselves with 'yes' men & women, who are dependent upon their patronage, they are likely to be missing huge opportunities for the development of robust strategy.
- Within your team – what do you do to ensure full and frank discussions?
- How do you make it clear to them that you need the truth?
These are very early days for PCCs and there is much water to flow under their bridges before the next election in May 2016. Three questions stand out for me:
How many PCCs will exercise the kind of 'truth seeking' leadership being described by Machiavelli above?
How effective will Police & Crime Panels be in providing 'truthful' feedback to their PCC?
If the answer to the above question is 'not very', will other networks be needed in order to hold PCCs to account for their promises to make substantive improvements in crime reduction and community safety?