David Cameron has been forced to sacrifice his powerful position as the British public, who, given the right to exercise their democratic freedom, have forced his hand.
One of the first leaders in history to fall on his sword was Brutus whose luck ran out when he was defeated at Philippi. Similarly, George Entwhistle, former BBC Director General, quit after a savage attack on air by one his own employees, John Humphreys. Marc Bolland left his £5 million a year hot seat at M&S in April when he was unable to halt the decline in womenswear and Debenhams CEO, Michael Sharp, left at the end of last year when shareholders were hinting that they would be better off without him.
So should failing bosses jump before they are pushed and take up their swords like Samurai warriors in the face of defeat? Or should they weather the storm like Corbyn and wait for others to stab them in the back? Cameron’s mortal wound is self-inflicted as he took a gamble by putting the country to the test in the hope of settling the infighting in his party and of crushing the surge in popularity of UKIP. Corbyn, on the other hand, really believes that he has the grass root support of party members and he is hanging on, in spite of the treacherous mutineers around him.
Can you be taken as a credible leader if you have to fight for something that you have previously said you don’t believe in? Or are you strengthened by your inner resolve to stick to your principles, whatever the cost?
Some business leaders take risks, nail their colours to the mast and put their reputations on the line. These inherent ‘gambles’ may either result in fame and fortune or in ignominious defeat.
So what would you do if you were Cameron or Corbyn?