The longest serving British monarch celebrates her birthday tomorrow. And as we all know she just lost our husband of 73 years, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on April 9th. Whether you are a royalist or not, what can we learn from this woman who has served her nation since 1952? Here are three things to consider:
What You Say and How You Say It Matters
Showing Up Matters
From the beginning, HM Queen Elizabeth II realized when her father passed suddenly that she would be ascending the throne at a young age (she was just short of 26), and most likely serve for many years to come. She developed an identifiable signature and a trademark outfit of a customary coat, matching hat and handbag. (Always wondered what she had in there; keys to the palace? lipstick? a hanky? Recently, I learned why she always carries one publicly.*) And while you do not need a specific outfit to identify yourself, consider the message that you are sending through your appearance. Then make an effort to support that image.
The Queen also makes hundreds of speeches each year to crowds small and large (she was the first to address her nation and the world on television and the first British monarch to send an email). She is not the most dynamic speaker but her message is clear. She delivers her messages with careful thought and preparation (her father, HM King George VI was a stutterer; subject of the movie – The King’s Speech). The Queen doesn’t wing it, and neither should you.
Tomorrow, she turns 95 and still has a very busy appearance schedule. Many don’t make it to her age, and if they do, they may not be in either the physical or mental shape to be able to be everywhere she needs to be. She does it because she believes it is her duty assigned by her place in history. It may not be what an nonagenarian wants to do on a particular day but she does it because she knows that showing up matters. It is not easy “being on” all the time for any leader but it sends a message. It makes a statement.
How do you lead others in your professional or personal life?
"I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together." – Queen Elizabeth II