Boris Johnson confidence vote: what to do if you lose the support of your team - like the Prime Minister

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
As Boris Johnson breathes a sigh of relief for surviving his vote of no confidence, he will no doubt be - or should be - wondering why and how he could have lost the confidence of any of his team

With little support, like Boris Johnson - where do you go from here?

As Boris Johnson breathes a sigh of relief for surviving his vote of no confidence, he will no doubt be - or should be - wondering why and how he could have lost the confidence of any of his team. After all, when you are facing obstacles as a leader, the last thing you need is your team to be one of them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But let’s be honest - a team does not rebel against their boss overnight.

There are usually tell-tale signs along the way that have annoyed, frustrated, or upset the heck out of them. They might disagree with a decision that’s been taken, or perhaps a decision that hasn’t been taken (dithering about annoys the pants off most of us). Sometimes it’s poor behaviour, because although they are meant to be role models, some bosses fall well short, don’t they?

You don’t have to be a boss to lose support though, it can happen to any one of us.

Let’s imagine you fall out with your friends, or have a disagreement with your family, or fall out of favour with your teammates at work - then what?

Well, fear not - all is not lost!

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If, that is, you are prepared to swallow your pride and take some action. I’m not pretending it’s easy, but if your reputation and the support of the people around you, matters - then here are a few steps you can take to repair any damage that’s been done.

As Boris Johnson breathes a sigh of relief for surviving his vote of no confidence, he will no doubt be - or should be - wondering why and how he could have lost the confidence of any of his team (NationalWorld / Mark Hall)As Boris Johnson breathes a sigh of relief for surviving his vote of no confidence, he will no doubt be - or should be - wondering why and how he could have lost the confidence of any of his team (NationalWorld / Mark Hall)
As Boris Johnson breathes a sigh of relief for surviving his vote of no confidence, he will no doubt be - or should be - wondering why and how he could have lost the confidence of any of his team (NationalWorld / Mark Hall) | NationalWorld / Mark Hall

Firstly, what IS the truth?

It’s easy - and common - for us to lose sight of how we come across, and how we are behaving. But to those around us, it’s glaringly obvious and their frustrations will be building. If you have a high level of self-awareness (and many leaders don’t), then you’ll spot the reactions you’re getting, and you’ll pick up on how people are feeling. Then at least you can nip it in the bud early and do something about it.

But, on the other hand, if you haven’t a clue about the impact you are having, you need to be brave and get someone - at least one person - to be brutally honest with you. Nice words won’t cut it, you need someone to tell you exactly where the issues are, and why you are losing support. And yes, it will hurt.

Asking for and facing up to the truth can turn leadership around, build an even stronger team and bring people closer together.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Honesty is the ‘slap in the face’ we don’t want but definitely need.

Choose your path, then get to work

Now, even when people are aware of the truth and disgruntlement, they still ignore it. Why is that?  - well, they think the matter will die down or blow over, then they won’t have to deal with it. Sorry to tell you this, but that rarely happens - there’s always someone in your circle that will keep bringing it up or will hold onto it until you face up to it. And, as with Boris, sooner or later you’ll have to decide; do I face up to this and try to resolve it, or do I ‘brush it under the carpet’?

Choose your path carefully, your reputation and support of those around you (who you care about and need) depends on it.

If you want to sort it out, as most of us would want to do, then it’s time to get to work.

Don’t hesitate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Prove your doubters wrong

You have been judged, rightly or wrongly by those around you. But if they’ve given you the truth as they see it, it’s up to you to prove them wrong.

This doesn’t mean that you stir up bad feelings and end up in a slanging match, it’s quite the opposite. Sometimes people do get the wrong end of the stick, or don’t know the full story - so we end up jumping to conclusions. That’s not necessarily the fault of those around you, it could be yours for not being transparent or clear enough. So, be careful how you react.

If (as in Boris’s case), there is a good reason for the loss of support, and it’s your fault, you now have a job to do in proving that you are not the person they think you are.

The spotlight is firmly on you, use it well. Be upfront about what you intend to do to put right your wrongs, change your behaviour, and demonstrate how serious you are about winning back those whose support you have lost or dented. You’ll have to work hard at this because if you put a foot wrong after you’ve pledged to change course, you could damage your reputation forever.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Show people the best of who you are. The hard work will be worth it.

Stay the course

Anyone can start out with good intentions, only to slip back into old ways soon after. It’s not easy, and Boris will be finding that out right now - he’s probably walking on eggshells.

If those around you already have doubts about you, they’ll be waiting to see just how long you can keep up with your promises and new ways of behaving before it all comes crashing down.

But you can keep on track; and you can stick with it if you are determined, by staying close to those you may have angered in the past. Yes, really.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

You need to know how you are doing, you need to listen to their views - and you need to be prepared to act on what they say (if it’s the right thing to do) and you also need to listen to your most ardent supporters too.

If you want to stay the course, be inclusive, get feedback, and keep working hard to show honest leadership (or friendship).

Keep listening

The biggest obstacles we face can often turn out to be pivotal moments for us; the moments that change the course off our career or even, our life.

In these moments, not only can we win back the support of those around us, but we can also gather new support from people that we never even had before.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That ‘kick up the backside’ can jump start us into being more aware of how we treat our team, our colleagues, our friends, and family, or those who rely on us. And even though it can be painful to hear (especially if, like Boris, you like to be liked), listening and ‘reading the room’ will mean we hold onto that support.

A crisis is always an opportunity. As long as you play your part.

I hope you’re listening Boris because you’re in the Spotlight - and we’re all watching.

Amana Walker is a performance coach who works with a range of business leaders and sports professionals. More info at www.amanawalker.com

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.