I know I’m late to the series but I’m glad I got there. I am midway through season two so I know I have a lot more ahead. I also know it’s fictional (the royal family makes a point of reminding us of that from time to time) so this is not about them but the acting and the script.
1. The first duty of a leader is to inspire. This wonderful episode about a noble peer who speaks up after a ghastly speech that the Queen that demonstrates how out of touch she is reminds us that the first obligation of leadership is to tap into the qualities within a person to inspire them, to show care for them and to connect deeply. When you manage, you think about output. You’re looking at your staff as though they are tools or machines that need to get cranked up. When you lead, you tap into that quality within someone that encourages them and loves them sufficiently to light the spark within them.
2. Leaders are different. Because they have a responsibility to something greater than the immediate or their own needs, they have to examine and make decisions based upon a greater perspective. Obviously, the Queen doesn’t always do that on the show. Yet there are many times where she does. Often, that leads to the next lesson
3. Leaders are often isolated by systems and need to find ways to connect. Good information doesn’t always get to leaders. The judgment is often limited based upon the inputs that they receive. Well-meaning sycophants decide what is useful for them to hear and filter information that they receive. As a leader, you need to have ways around the system to collect information so that you are not snowed.
4. Leaders are often lonely and frustrate those closest to them. The burdens of leadership are immense. Everyone thinks they want to be in that place until they are allowed to lead and then discover it isn’t what they expected. In the series, the marital relationship is complicated, the relationship between sisters is complicated, even the relationship with Prime Ministers is complicated.
5. Often, the best decision is to say or do nothing. The Queen has no power. At best, she has influence. As such, although politicians deferentially meet with her before decisions, although family members deferentially come to her for permission, whether she speaks or not, she knows everyone hangs on her words and her actions or inactions have consequences. After all, it is common for them to be misinterpreted. Leaders know that they need to use their words sparingly. Fewer words are better than more words.
I’m so sorry I got to the series so late. Obviously, much has happened in real life since the middle of season two of this series. Mistakes, tragedy, changes in authority.
Leadership needs to adapt and may fail to do that.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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