One of the most powerful men in European politics resigned at a pivotal moment that potentially could define the future of the United Kingdom. This vote will certainly go down in history along with critiques and questions of what David Cameron's almost immediate step down will really mean. For executives and corporate affairs professionals, there are some important lessons to take note of surrounding how this process has been handled.
Untimely resignations can ignite crises
So many voters, after being blind-sided by the resignation of David Cameron, have publicly announced that they would revise their vote given the chance. This is not so much a symbol of a misinformed public, but rather a sign there is a lack of clear vision and leadership to shine a light on the future. Without this sort of support, the people of the United Kingdom are fraught with confusion. Cameron's admission, coming so soon after the public's decision was revealed, created a fire from the initial spark.
"Above all, this will require strong, determined and committed leadership," he said.
Even though Cameron's integrity was strong, his resilience was not. In any time of change or transition, these are both integral leadership qualities.
While he had never supported the decision to leave, it seems that faith in his leadership was what motivated many to actually embrace the change and vote against it. But now that change is impending without a steady hand at the helm, this lack of leadership may mean that public fear could explode from uncertainty.
The importance of leadership to change
At a time of crisis, a leader should not first pass the buck, they need to take control and remind their followers that the future is bright. Instead, he pragmatically explained that this person was not him.
"I will do everything I can as prime minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months, but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination. […] It is in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required."
With the highest turnout since the post-Thatcher election of 1992, it is promising too see a democracy engaging with issues that affect them. No matter whether or not you support the decision to leave the European Union, for the public relations industry, this fact alone should be celebrated. What happens next, well, is uncertain.