I became a true Anglophile in the fifth grade when I experienced my first trip overseas to London. My passion for all things British continued when I was studying at the University of London. Of course, I binge-watched television all day and night when the Queen passed away, and mourned with the rest of the Commonwealth. I also was busy reflecting on her remarkable leadership. Hence, this newsletter which I dedicate to Her Majesty! God bless the memory of the Queen.
There are many leadership lessons that we can learn from the natural and consistent nature of Queen Elizabeth’s character. Her leadership was not about her title. It was about her relationship with the British people, who saw in their Queen a person who was true to her principles, willing to adapt to change, and committed to the welfare of society. Her major personality traits manifested the behaviors that her country appreciated. As leaders, we should all take note.
The Queen had an exceptional capacity to listen while withholding judgement. She was a true introvert, and with that comes great benefits which extroverted people could learn from. If you have read Susan Cain’s book, Quiet or Dan Pink’s book, To Sell is Human, you know that introverted behavior is a great leadership gift. Those who process their thinking internally are psychologically aligned to deeply listen to seek to understand, to come from a place of inquiry and curiosity, to practice empathic listening. Queen Elizabeth was off riding horses alone and hiking in the Scottish Highlands at Balmoral alone to counterbalance all of the media attention which she stoically accepted as part of the responsibility of the job. The lone walks with her corgis restored her.
The Queen was pragmatic and a realist. She focused on the problems of the here and now, and was set on solving them. All of the family drama and interpersonal conflicts were a huge stress because she couldn’t solve them in the here and now.
The Queen was a logical thinker. She chose to react with reason rather than emotion. Because of that some people thought that she was cold. No, she was acting the way a reserved introvert acts and responding rationally which is not perceived as empathically.
There were two times during her reign when empathy and emotion first and foremost were what her citizens needed to see, and it was those two occasions when the Monarchy and her reign were in real trouble because she didn’t express emotion or empathy. The first was the collapse of the Aberfan mine in 1966 when 116 children and 28 adults died. She was the last person to arrive a week later, after every other figurehead had been there from the start, including her husband. In the end, she arrived and did indeed show emotion. How could you not? She also returned to Aberfan several times since then, and the village came to adore her.
The second occasion was the death of Princess Diana. For a week the then prime minister Tony Blair begged and pleaded with her to make a statement and be seen by her people. Instead, she stayed at her reclusive home in Balmoral with her grandsons, who had lost their mother, and didn’t reach out. In the end, she saved her monarchy because of her ability to adapt. She and the family returned to London, did many “walkabouts” with the public, addressed the nation as a grandmother and when the funeral cortege rolled by Buckingham Palace she bowed her head in respect.
The Queen was responsible. In fact, when she gave an address to the Commonwealth of Nations when she turned 21, she pledged that she would be their Queen until her last day on earth. She kept her promise. Her leadership modeled responsibility and conscientiousness. The Queen preferred living an orderly life and following protocol. It was her way of staying grounded and calm in the midst of political chaos, family drama, and a global pandemic.
The Queen was emotionally stable. She was always calm, cool, and collected and made her visitors feel comfortable. She had a wry sense of humor and always participated in publicized skits (Remember 007 “Hello Mr. Bond” and then her double jumps out of an airplane to start the London Olympics, or having tea with Paddington at her 70th Jubilee?)
We can learn the lessons of authenticity, self-control, purpose, and legacy through the gift of 70 years of her modeling for us all.
Ask yourself these 5 reflective questions that are designed to help you uncover and rediscover.
- In what ways do you manifest sincerity, authenticity, and congruence between your words and your actions?
- What are your strategies for practicing self-control when you are in stressful situations?
- What is your collective mission that everyone can identify with? How do you walk in your purpose?
- What are the values which you want to pass on to future generations?
- How would you like to be remembered?
Five of Queen Elizabeth’s most inspiring and touching words of wisdom:
- “We will succeed- and that success will belong to every one of us. We will meet again.”
- “Good memories are our second chance at happiness.”
- “The world is not the most pleasant place. Eventually, your parents leave you and nobody is going to go out of their way to protect you unconditionally. You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass.”
- “We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.”
- “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
- Quiet: The power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
- To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel Pink
- Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II, by Robert Hardman
- The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor -The Truth and The Turmoil, by Tina Brown
- The Queen: Her Life, by Andrew Morton
November 1, 2022
Return from Bangkok, Thailand. EARCOS Leadership Conference
November 3, 2022
Aspiring Leaders Series. Virginia Beach City Public Schools, VA
November 5 and 6, 2022
Transforming Schools Institute (virtual). CEESA Schools. Eastern Europe
November 7 and 8, 2022
Leadership Planning and Teacher Leadership. North Little Rock, AK
November 11 and 12, 2022
Transforming Schools Institute (virtual) Part Two. CEESA Schools. Eastern Europe
November 14 and 15, 2022
Site visits with Principals. North Little Rock, AK
November 16 and 17, 2022
Site visits with Principals. Arlington Public Schools, VA
November 21-25, 2022
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
November 29, 2022
Advanced Communication Skills for Leaders. (Virtual) AAIE. Princeton, NJ
November 30, 2022
Site visits with Principals. North Little Rock, AK