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A Political Path: Dr Victoria Hasson

Dr Hasson is a political performance expert and researcher specializing in the performance and wellbeing of politicians. She is the founder of The Silent MP, a platform aimed at promoting a more humanized and authentic political society. She was featured in our list of 50+1 Influential Researchers.

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How would you describe your political path?

My path is full of cycles of inquiry and investment. I initially looked at the relationship between democratic procedure and democratic leadership. But after running a parliamentary operation and then training politicians across the globe, it quickly became clear to me that I needed to adapt conventional leadership training to the political context: a context that challenges the ability of politicians to cultivate essential leadership qualities such as courage, integrity, vulnerability and authenticity. Now I focus solely on paving a pathway for supporting politicians with the belief that if we want healthier democracies, we need healthier leaders.

What are the most useful lessons you've learnt on the way?

No politician wants their emotions, mental health, and overall wellbeing to impact policy or their ability to lead effectively. Yet, they still have feelings, experiences, and a mind that has to handle toxic working cultures within an outdated job design.

I have learnt how politics shapes politicians, and how politicians in turn shape politics. I use my insights to help politicians and anyone working with them. How politicians are doing on the inside will impact the quality of our democracies, unless each country decides to elect hundreds of robots to replace elected officials. We have to decide that we care enough to understand what is going on with politicians’ wellbeing. Doing so is essential for inclusive, innovative and effective political leadership into the future.

“If we want healthier democracies, we need healthier leaders.”

What are the top three things that could be done to get courageous, ethical and trusted politicians in your area?

  1. Break the silence on what it feels like to be a politician and be clear about the power politicians do not have. Breaking open what it feels like to deliver democracy at the top end is critical if we want our parliaments and politics to modernize and humanize.

  2. Support politicians to advocate for a re-designed representative system that enables them to communicate citizens' needs into policy more realistically, and sincerely. Do so in ways that are not only legitimate and inclusive but also inspiring, visionary and connecting.

  3. Feed a new political society by supporting the best and the brightest to reshape and innovate representative institutions based on creative ideas, not on fear and personal vulnerabilities (lack of job security etc).

What ideas and/or people are inspiring you at the moment?

Watching videos of women dancing in their house in solidarity with Sanna Marin made me realize that we are ready to feed a new type of political leadership. We cannot throw a nuclear bomb on political culture, or on patriarchy etc. Every time we feed a reimagined way of doing politics we starve what it currently looks like, sounds like, and ‘feels like’ to be a politician.

What story do you want communities to tell about politicians?

I want communities to share stories of how connected, seen, heard, and safe they feel. I want them to share that even when they disagree with an outcome they understand how and why that particular decision was reached. In other words, I would rather communities didn’t tell stories about politicians at all. I would rather the system was redesigned and resourced enough to enable communities to sense their own power, and for the politician to be what they are meant to be: a reinforcing agent of a community’s own communicative power.


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