Written by: Malachi McPherson

Dominic Raab, Compassion and Curiosity in Leadership

27 Apr 2023

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Malachi McPherson
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The findings of ex-deputy PM, Dominic Raab’s bullying investigation shed light on the importance of leading with Compassion and Curiosity.

The report found staff were said to have “suffered significant negative impacts on their psychological wellbeing” after coming into contact with him, while others claimed he “acted in a way which was intimidating” by being “unreasonably and persistently aggressive” during a meeting.

The result? The deputy PM was forced to resign and faced a barrage of negative press and reputational damage despite strongly refuting the allegations. Given the turmoil surrounding the government’s leadership in recent times, these claims and the subsequent investigation place additional strain on the Prime Minister’s government and further damage the public perception of the MPs who serve us.

Engage Leadership supports leaders to use both compassion and curiosity when interacting with their colleagues. It is possible to ask a lot from your people, to operate in high-pressure environments, and offer high challenge to your team, without having to engage in the ‘command and control’ style of leadership that appears to have got Raab into the situation he now faces. In fact, the more time you spend laying foundations of psychological safety, creating meaningful connections, and trying to understand what motivates, drives, and engages your team, the safer they will feel under your leadership, and the more likely they will be to lean into discomfort, stretch themselves, and drive their own performance.

Whether you agree with the findings from the investigation into Mr Raab’s conduct or not, these events send a clear message of the potential impact of employing misguided and aggressive leadership styles in order to get tough jobs done. High challenge must be accompanied by high support, otherwise, as we have seen in this case, there is a real risk of damaging relationships with colleagues, personal reputation and organisational health and sustainability.

Our Engage Leadership™ services comprises 7 leadership dimensions: Courage, Connection, Collaboration, Common Purpose, Communication, Compassion and Curiosity.

For over 20 years, Engage Leadership has been proudly working with many household names to help their managers and leaders to create high performing, people-centred organisations.

Find out more about our leadership training offerings on our Engage Leadership website and watch our recent Engage Leadership fireside chat below!


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