THERE are many different leadership styles. Jesus used the analogy of a shepherd.

In those days a shepherd would live and sleep with his flock of sheep.

A shepherd would know his own sheep and if one sheep went missing a good shepherd would go and look for it.

Pope Francis has recently echoed this analogy saying that leaders should ‘have the smell of the sheep’; they should be close to and part of the group they are leading, not separate and aloof.

As leader of Cheshire East Council, I am pleased that I live in Sandbach, close to the headquarters at Westfields and so can cycle into work.

Being the leader of a joint administration with the Independent group of councillors means that we automatically have a more collaborative approach than the previous Conservative administration.

This new approach extends not just to councillors but also to members of the public.

At cabinet meetings the public can now ask questions while seated at a table, rather than having to stand at a lectern in the corner or perch at the end of a desk.

At the last cabinet meeting this new arrangement worked well while members of the public spoke, but then when the time came for visiting councillors to speak the Conservatives rebelled.

Although Labour and Lib Dem councillors seemed happy with the new arrangement, the first Conservative councillor, a former cabinet member, walked past the table allocated for non-cabinet members and sat down at the cabinet table to ask her question.

Another Conservative councillor even said ‘I’m not a member of the public’. To resolve the contretemps, the sign referring to members of the public was removed from the table and then the Conservative councillors agreed to use it.

I think this incident shows that some Conservative councillors have not reacted well to their electoral failure. This incident also shows the different leadership styles.

The local Conservatives are detached, aloof and proud; Labour councillors are happy to be considered members of the public, wanting to get things done for their communities and less interested in status or privileges.

It seems that the Conservatives are still as out of touch as ever from the members of the public who they should be serving.

Sam Corcoran Cheshire East Council Leader