Wouldn’t it be a fitting tribute to the late Queen if we could perhaps continue to live the way we have been doing in the past 10 days for a little longer.
Let’s talk about politics – we have seen a suspension of the traditional yah boo politics across the benches in the Commons with a mutual respect for each other and the stories they have been able to tell about the leadership they witnessed from the late Queen.
This week, we have see a resumption of the political rhythm with and the new Prime Minister setting out her financial policies.
Liz Truss has one of those rare opportunities to show real leadership and reframe what politics in Britain could look like. No-one wants to see consensus politics with no disagreement – that is not a healthy democracy, but I, for one, want to see grown-up politics.
Not everything has to be adversarial. Not everything has to be black and white, and not everything has to be reduced to the lowest common denominator of shouting derision across the 13 feet between the dispatch box and the opposition benches.
So Liz Truss and Sir Keir Starmer can show a new style of politics where healthy debate takes place and intelligent challenge – true leadership by demonstrating the tone and level of political debate their parties can follow.
What other leadership lessons may we have learned over the past two weeks?
1) We have heard a lot about the way the Queen used her experience to mentor, coach and influence those who sought out her advice.
The leadership lesson here is that you can have real influence even if you don’t have absolute power. Become widely read in your field, learn from those in your area of expertise who have mastered their craft, and share your knowledge with those who seek you out.
2) Visibility is an essential part of great leadership: The Queen lived out her promise to serve and be seen to serve with nearly 300 state visits around the globe. We also saw the power of visibility when King Charles stopped his limousine outside the gates of Buckingham Palace and greeted the waiting crowds. And his surprise walkabout with his son, Prince William, to meet the crowds queuing for the lying in state.
The leadership lesson here is to be seen to be the leader of your teams. You don’t have to always lead from the front – leading from the middle, rolling up your sleeves and being seen to be working with those who are working for you. Talk to your team. When I first became an editor and held small cluster meetings with staff, I heard many times how they had never had the opportunity to talk with their boss – that is crazy.
3) Learn from those around you: You cannot be an expert of everything – so make sure you build a team around you of people who know more than you do. Don’t fear their knowledge – embrace it in a “We” culture – acknowledging that together you are better and more powerful as a leadership team than the sum of your individual parts.
4) We have also heard about the humility that was often displayed during the past 70 years.
The leadership lesson here is that there is something powerful about showing your vulnerability. Be authentic, have humility and above all, have empathy. You will have heard that the best leaders are those who accept their frailties, talk about their concerns – but do so by embracing the positivity around this. Don’t scare your team members, but be prepared to be open with them. You are not expected to have all the answers all of the time – that is why you have a team.
5) While leading, you should lead with your own values at heart. We have heard about the concerns about whether the new king will continue pushing forward his own agenda on issues like climate change and the environment. He has become known while serving the Queen for his own views on what is best for the planet and is largely respected for those views.
The leadership lesson here is to run your own race. Don’t follow the crowd. Have your own set of values and bring them to the workplace every day. That is the only way to be seen as an authentic leader.
6) It was often said the Royal Family has lost touch with the general population on these isles and around the Commonwealth. The outpouring of grief, the overwhelming desire of so many people to show up and say thank you at the lying in state and the mountains of flowers laid at the palaces’ gates demonstrate that this was not the case.
The final leadership lesson here is to stay in touch with your team and your staff. Find ways to have open ways to communicate and seek out their ideas and thoughts. Surprise your staff with unexpected gestures of goodwill. Care about your people and they will care for you.
If you want to know more about how to build great leadership teams, if you want to enlist coaching support to become a modern leader, or if you want to know more about how to bring your team along a journey of change, then please get in touch with Chrysalis to talk about how we may be able to help.