They don’t blame you for the cuts, the redundancies or the pay freeze. They believe you when you say there is no choice. You smile, you sympathise, you share a glimpse into your family life, you’re not so different from them. But actually, you are.
You’re well paid with a very generous pension. You don’t need another job but if you want one it will be offered.
You truly believe what you say when you say it, and your sincerity is delivered with well practiced conviction.
You’re friendly, approachable with a easy smile and a good memory for names and a total lack of integrity. Everyone agrees you’re a charming man.
You don’t take sides and you don’t take a stance. You’re everyone’s friend; who could possibly dislike such an agreeable sort? Sometimes unpleasant things do have to be said in this harsh financial climate but you will get someone else to play bad cop to your good cop. Your values are unstated; your vision adaptable; your nick name is ‘Teflon’ because nothing bad ever sticks.
You look good in a suit, your shoes are always shinny, your hair well cut, you look the part. You say the right things, you know the right people, you’re comfortable in the presence of the powerful and at ease with your own elevated status.
With your winning smile and affable nature everyone agrees you’re a charming man.
Those who have followed your career know you did not get where you are today without a ruthless streak to go with that easy charm. After all the ends justify the means and the name of the game is survival.
You may think I am talking about a particular political leader but in fact I’m describing a style of management and leadership increasingly to be found in the public sector. A management style that would be recognised by chief executives and board members across local government and the NHS.
You won’t see it on the person specification or job description, you won’t see it in the advert. But charm is an unspoken requirement for senior management.